Medicare to still cover Avastin for breast cancer

Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:08pm EST

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(Reuters) - The Medicare federal insurance program for the elderly and disabled will continue paying for Roche Holding's drug Avastin for breast cancer, despite the health regulator's decision to revoke approval.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that Roche could no longer market Avastin for breast cancer in the United States.

"Medicare will continue to cover Avastin," Don McLeod, spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, or CMS, said on Friday.

"CMS will monitor the issue and evaluate coverage options as a result of action by the FDA but has no immediate plans to change coverage policies."

The statement from the U.S. healthcare program could mitigate concerns that patients using the drug would lose insurance coverage should the FDA revoke approval for its use in breast cancer.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov and Alina Selyukh; editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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