Media Doctor Canada
Follow us on Twitter








"Second Opinion: Be skeptical about the Herceptin Hype"

Globe and Mail

Source: Globe and Mail

Published: 04 Aug 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (5 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

The breast cancer drug trastuzumab (better known by its brand name Herceptin) has had more than its share of good press. It has been described as "the biggest cancer breakthrough in a decade," "a life-saving drug" and the "next best thing to a cure." The laudatory words from some oncologists and patient advocates, along with extensive media coverage, have placed enormous pressure on public health plans to fund the treatment. Much of the debate has focused on the price Genentech Inc. is asking for Herceptin -- between $35,000 and $45,000, depending on the patient's weight.
Providing Herceptin to a select group of breast cancer patients would effectively double the cost of treatment and add $150-million a year to the health-care tab.

The original article can be found at:

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 10 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Applicable

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

After a summer of laudatory media treatment about the use of Herceptin (trastuzumab) with chemotherapy for breast cancer, finally there is an article free of hype and clear on evidence. This opinion piece on the hype surrounding the launch of a new breast cancer treatment, trastuzumab (Herceptin). The author has done an excellent job of deconstructing relative risk differences and translating them into absolute risk differences, as well including some information on risks. The discussion is well-framed in terms of the outcome of greatest importance to patients, survival, as well as addressing the context of policy decisions concerning payment. In terms of clear, unequivocal examinations of evidence, this article sets a very high mark. Bravo!

public forum

There are currently no comments on this article.

voice your opinion in the forum

  • All comments and feedback submitted to Media Doctor are subject to editorial approval before being made viewable by the public. It may take up to a week for your comments to be approved. Additionally, no response will be given to questions posed in public comments. Media Doctor does not provide medical advice, or answers to medical questions posed by the public.
  • If you provide your email address it will not be displayed to the general public.
  • Comments may be edited by Media Doctor to remove defamatory or sensitive statements, and brand names.
  • Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).
Name: *
Comments: *
Copyright © Media Doctor Canada