Vitter: FDA’s Avastin rejection analogous to govt. death panels

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) on Wednesday reignited the politically charged debate over healthcare rationing, arguing a recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendation against using Avastin to treat breast cancer marks a “sickening” case of the government threatening access to care, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Earlier this month, an FDA panel voted 12 to 1 to remove Avastin’s previous approval for treating breast cancer in coordination with chemotherapy. The panel found the benefits of the drug didn’t outweigh its potential to harm the liver.


In a statement issued Wednesday, Vitter said the panel’s vote is analogous to the government denying care because the patient’s life “is not deemed valuable enough,” AP reported.

The comment rehashes allegations made during the healthcare reform debate, when Republicans accused the Democrats of endorsing “death panels” for a provision (later removed) that would have expanded Medicare and Medicaid payments to physicians who conduct voluntary consultations with patients about end-of-life care. 

Politifact named the death panel accusation their “Lie of the Year.”