Highlights of the important and interesting in the world of healthcare:
Women anguish over Avastin pull. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday moved toward revoking approval of the blockbuster cancer drug Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer, drawing criticism for limiting treatment options for desperately ill women, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Second federal judge threatens individual mandate. A federal judge in Florida said Thursday it would be “a giant leap” for the Supreme Court to accept the Obama administration’s defense of the so-called individual mandate — a central provision of the new health care law — suggesting he may become the second judge to strike it down as unconstitutional, according to the New York Times.
Analysts fret over Brilinta setback. The FDA has handed AstraZeneca a painful setback on its biggest late-stage pipeline prospect: Rather than approve the blood thinner Brilinta, the agency issued a response letter demanding a fresh round of data analysis from a late-stage trial, according to FierceBiotech.
Unraveling Medicaid would be foolish. Medicaid may not provide great access to care. But it does provide access — access its recipients very much need and that, according to research, has measurably improved their health, according to a column in The New Republic and Kaiser Health News.
Steere central to Pfizer drama. For all the chatter about the sudden departure of CEO Jeff Kindler, the Pfizer boardroom drama might focus on Bill Steere: As chairman emeritus for nearly a decade, the 73-year-old Steere has wielded tangible influence over the drug maker and its strategic direction, including the push for out-sized acquisitions, according to Pharmalot blog’s Ed Silverman.
Mass layoffs could hit record at hospitals. The most recent mass-layoff statistics for the hospital industry suggest that 2010 will be a near-record year, according to an American Medical News report on the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics release.