FDA Making Experimental Cancer Treatments Easier to Get

MONDAY, June 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Each year, thousands of cancer patients seek access to drugs that have shown promise, but haven't be approved. Now they may have a better shot at getting them under a new initiative from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Associated Press reported.

A case in point is that of Sally Atwater whose doctor spent two months calling and filling out forms to get an experimental drug to treat her lung cancer that had spread to her brain and spine.

And then there's Nancy Goodman, who unsuccessful pleaded with eight companies for a drug to treat her child's brain tumor, which ultimately killed him.

Rather than making doctors beg for these drugs, if the company approves, the FDA will intercede and help the process along, the agency announced at the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

"We are here to help. We are not here to make a drug company give a specific drug to a patient. We don't have that authority," Dr. Richard Pazdur, who is leading the FDA program, told the AP.

"We do not want to have the situation where somebody who screams loudest gets the drug" while others don't, he said.

Goodman, who started the group Kids v Cancer, told the AP that the FDA was never the problem, it was drug companies' refusals. But the FDA's new program "is absolutely going to change things," she said.

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