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Patient Advocates: Flies In The Ointment Of Evidence-Based Care

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The women recounted how their lives had been saved as they pleaded for the Food and Drug Administration not to withdraw approval for Avastin as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. They did so even without evidence that it provides benefit and with evidence that it confers risks. Their efforts were ultimately not successful: the FDA panel voted unanimously to withdraw approval. (Some will quibble with this blunt representation of the question debated at the hearing. To read more about this, look here, here and here, for example, for more nuanced discussion.)

Despite careful consideration of the evidence by the panel, however, the indelible picture presented by the media was of heartless government bureaucrats depriving women of a drug that could save their lives, and by extension depriving children of their moms, parents of their daughters and spouses of their partners in the name of one-size-fits-all, evidence-based medicine.

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More Blog Posts by Jessie Gruman

author bio

Jessie C. Gruman, PhD, was founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health from 1992 until her death in July 2014. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life-threatening illnesses — informed her perspective as an author, advocate and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Blog. Her book, AfterShock, helps patients and caregivers navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. The free app, AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis, offers a pocket guide based on the book. | More about Jessie Gruman


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Evidence-Based Medicine   Jessie Gruman   Communicate with your Doctors   Women's Health   Cancer  


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dirk says
July 19, 2011 at 12:00 PM

an old prof of mine used to remind us that in making a compromise no one gets what they wanted.
Compromise is the heart of democratic processes but we must find better ways of acknowledging and coping with the necessary element of loss involved, as a public we must learn to mourn.