FAMEDs Newsletter #17

FREEDOM OF ACCESS TO MEDICINES NEWSLETTER #17

July 21, 2011
 
This FAMEDS newsletter contains three urgent actions and one update. If you care about the 17,500 women fighting for their lives, the next few days is one of the last chances you will get to save their lives.

The latest urgent action requires you to contact your Representative in the House and urge them to sign a letter circulating in the House by midnight of Monday, July 25, 2011.

The second urgent action is a repeat of last week's appeal to contact your Senators to sign a letter circulating in the Senate.

The third urgent action regards a previous request to send your comments to the FDA docket on Avastin. The last date for submissions is July 28, 2011.

The final issue is the success we had with Congresspersons questioning the FDA recently about their handling of the Avastin issue. See video below.

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED TO SAVE THE AVASTIN WOMEN – HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES LETTER CIRCULATING – TIGHT DEADLINE FOR SIGNING

SENATOR CIRCULATING A LETTER FOR SIGNATURE BY OTHER SENATORS TO SAVE THE AVASTIN WOMEN. WE NEED YOU TO URGE YOUR SENATOR TO SIGN THIS LETTER.
Please contact your House Representative immediately and urge them to sign the attached non-partisan letter that is circulating in the House. Please click here to read the letter.

To find your Representative's contact details please click on the link below, find your State on the map, click on it and then you will see the contact information for your Representative.

www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb

For your Representative to sign this letter or for additional information, please have them contact Adam Bucklaw (adam.buckalew@mail.house.gov) with Representative Harper's office or Emily Shetty (Emily.shetty@mail.house.gov) with Representative Towns' office by Monday, July 25, 12:00 p.m.

You can call or you can e-mail. E-mail may be best. Here is the outline of the text that you can use in an e-mail to your Representative:

Dear Representative X,

Please find attached a recently drafted non-partisan letter signed by many of your colleagues calling on FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to protect women who rely on the drug Avastin to stay alive. I urge you to please sign this letter.

Avastin is a unique drug without any substitute for fighting the incurable disease, metastatic breast cancer.

Despite the pleas of these thousands of desperate patients and their families, despite the evidence of thousands of breast cancer oncologists in favor of Avastin, despite the opinion of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to back Avastin, despite the European Medicines Agency expanding its approval of Avastin for metastatic breast cancer on June 28, 2011, a recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel recommended the withdrawal of the cancer drug Avastin. There are many disturbing questions of the process by which this poor decision was made that require Congressional investigation at a future date.

Initially approved by the FDA, Avastin has been vital to many in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer and has produced significant benefits for some patients on the medication. Please call on Commissioner Hamburg to consider the lives of your constituents who value extended life during their quest to fight breast cancer and allow Avastin to remain an option for treatment.

While drug safety is an important consideration, patients taking Avastin are running out of time and options for treatment. Decisions on patient treatment for this serious disease should be made between patients and their doctors. Until a cure is developed or other successful treatment alternatives are available, patients with metastatic breast cancer should be given the option of taking Avastin.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is expected to make the final in the coming weeks. A letter from your office will ensure your constituents' concerns are heard.

To save the women who rely on this drug, please contact Adam Buckalew (adam.buckalew@mail.house.gov) with Representative Harper's office or Emily Shetty (Emily.shetty@mail.house.gov) with Representative Towns' office by Monday, July 25, 12:00 p.m.

Thanking you for your consideration,

Sincerely yours,
ABC

SENATOR CIRCULATING A LETTER FOR SIGNATURE BY OTHER SENATORS TO SAVE THE AVASTIN WOMEN. WE NEED YOU TO URGE YOUR SENATOR TO SIGN THIS LETTER.

Please urgently contact your two Senators and urge them to sign a letter circulating in the Senate to protect the Avastin women. This non-partisan letter has now been signed by Democrats and Republicans alike including Senators Inouye, Cochran, Vitter and Wicker.Please click here to read the letter

Please see attached letter. This is one of our last hopes to influence FDA Commissioner Hamburg, who will make the final decision on Avastin probably within the next month.

Attached you will find the letter Senator Wicker is circulating around the Senate. Please contact your Senators, and ask them to contact Wesley Clay on Senator Wicker's staff to sign the letter. He can be reached at Wesley_Clay@wicker.senate.gov or (202) 224-6253.

Please click on the link below, find your State on the map, click on it and then you will see the contact information for your two Senators.

www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb

You can call or you can e-mail. E-mail may be best. Here is the outline of the text that you can use in an e-mail to your Senators:

A recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel recommended the withdrawal of the cancer drug Avastin. Initially approved by the FDA, Avastin has been vital to many in the treatment of metastatic cancer and has produced significant benefits for some patients on the medication. Please call on Commissioner Hamburg to consider the lives of your constituents who value extended life during their quest to fight breast cancer and allow Avastin to remain an option for treatment.

While drug safety is an important consideration, patients taking Avastin are running out of time and options for treatment. Decisions on patient treatment for this serious disease should be made between patients and their doctors. Until a cure is developed or other successful treatment alternatives are available, patients with metastatic breast cancer should be given the option of taking Avastin.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is expected to make the final in the coming weeks. A letter from your office will ensure your constituents' concerns are heard.

IMPORTANT: SEND YOUR AVASTIN COMMENTS TO THE FDA'S OFFICIAL DOCKET BY JULY 28, 2011

If you were unable to speak the FDA's hearing (or even if you did speak) but want to register your opinion in the official record, you can do so in two ways, one online, the other through the mail. Comments must be submitted by July 28, 2011.

Electronic comments may be submitted by clicking on

www.regulations.gov/2010-N-0621-0143

If you have any problems with the above link, this is an alternative approach:

www.gene.com/gene/products/information

You may also submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management, (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Please remember to make a reference to the Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0621

What you write it up to you. It is extremely important that you use this opportunity to enter your opinion in the official record. If you do not like any aspect of the Avastin decision or process leading up to the decision, this is your chance to make your opinion known. While some may be discouraged at the way the ODAC committee voted, this entire matter is far from complete. So speak now or forever hold your peace.

HOUSE HEALTH CARE COMMITTEE QUESTIONS FDA ON AVASTIN DECISION

Your letter and phone calls helped push several Congresspersons to question the FDA at a recent hearing. Please visit the link below to see the product of your efforts. Thank you and keep up the good work on behalf of the 17,500 women currently relying on Avastin to fight their incurable metastatic breast cancer.

www.energycommerce.house.gov/hearings
 
 
Avastin Fight Song


Composer and performer, Andrew Katz, NYC

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