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"Herceptin debate comes amid skepticism about all drugs"

Globe and Mail

Source: Globe and Mail

Published: 24 Nov 2021

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (4½ stars)

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

The world's top medical journal said Herceptin might be a cure. A rival publication said the data are inadequate. A third wrote that there should be a process so patients can get timely access to such highly effective drugs.
Perhaps no other anti-cancer drug in recent memory has garnered more divergent opinions than trastuzumab, known by the brand name, Herceptin.
Breast-cancer patients who produce too much of a protein called HER2 have been demanding the drug, which in Canada costs between $35,000 to $50,000 for a year's worth of treatment, depending on a patient's weight. The drug is given for one year.....

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 9 of 11
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)

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

Overall, this is an appropriate presentation of the relevant facts, including the primary literature, that contribute to the Herceptin controversy. Herceptin appears to reduce the chance of breast cancer recurrence by 8% over 2 years and 18% over 4 years. However, the drug also causes heart problems in 4% of patients and costs approximately $40,000 per year. As with many new effective medications, the proper use and funding issues surrounding the use of these new agents always makes for difficult decisions within a public healthcare system.

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