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Headlines: July 1, 2011

by Tony Kikendall


The Sixth Circuit on Wednesday upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the 2010 federal health care law. The three-judge panel held that Congress's requirement that all Americans have health insurance fell within Congress's Commerce Clause power. Judges Boyce Martin and Jeffrey Sutton voted to uphold the law, whereas Judge James Graham dissented. Similar suits are currently being litigated in Atlanta, Richmond, and the District of Columbia.

The FDA voted to revoke the approval of Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer. Roche Holding AG, the maker of Avastin, has said that if the decision is not overturned, it may counter with legal action. The FDA said that the benefit of Avastin was minimal for women with breast cancer when viewed against the possible life-threatening side effects. Avastin will still be available, because it still has approval to treat other cancers. The concern, however, is that insurers will refuse to cover Avastin as  a treatment for breast cancer now that the FDA has revoked its approval. Medicare will continue to cover the medicine.

A new study shows that screening smokers for lung cancer with a low-dose CT can detect the cancer at its earliest stage. The screening reduced deaths by 20%. 160,000 people in the United States die a year from lung cancer. Questions remain as to how wide a net should be cast in terms of the ideal candidate for screening.

Tony Kikendall is a rising second year law student at Boston University. Please feel free to email him with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.


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