August 16, 2010 10:57AM

Why Should Politicians and Bureaucrats Decide Whether Breast‐​Cancer Patients Can Take Avastin?

Today’s Washington Post contains an article titled, “FDA Considers Revoking Approval of Avastin for Advanced Breast Cancer.” An excerpt:

The debate over Avastin, prescribed to about 17,500 women with breast cancer a year, has become entangled in the politically explosive struggle over medical spending and effectiveness that flared during the battle over health‐​care reform: How should the government balance protecting patients and controlling costs without restricting access to cutting‐​edge, and often costly, treatments?

A better question is: why should the government be the one to strike that balance? Why shouldn’t some women be able to sign up for a health plan that covers Avastin, while others are free to make a different choice?