(From The Guardian)
Guidelines for American oncologists often recommend expensive and harmful cancer drugs for patients based on “weak evidence”, according to a new study in the British Medical Journal.
The BMJ research looked at drugs recommended for conditions not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, a practice called “off-label” prescribing.
Off-label prescribing, or using a drug for purposes that may be well known but not approved by a regulatory agency, is common, especially in oncology. But recently approved cancer drugs can cost and have severe side-effects.
Prasad, the study’s lead author, said: “It would be one thing if we were talking about drugs that were cheap and have no side-effects.” He added that many recently approved cancer drugs “have risk-benefit analyses that are just tilted toward benefit. [But] you can get to a net harm condition.”