KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Sanofi To Cut Cost Of Colon Cancer Drug In Half After Cancer Center Denial

The New York Times: Sanofi Halves Price Of Cancer Drug Zaltrap After Sloan-Kettering Rejection
In an unusual move, a big drug company said on Thursday that it would effectively cut in half the price of a new cancer drug after a leading cancer center said it would not use the drug because it was too expensive. ... Zaltrap came to market in August at a price of about $11,000 a month. Soon after, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York decided not to use the drug, saying it was twice as expensive but no more effective than a similar medicine, Avastin from Genentech. Both drugs improved median survival by 1.4 months, doctors there said (Pollack, 11/8).

In other public health news, officials worry about a new form of West Nile Virus --

The Washington Post: Hints Of A More Virulent, Mutating West Nile Virus Emerge
The West Nile virus epidemic of 2012, the worst in a decade, may be notorious for yet another reason: The virus, in some cases, is attacking the brain more aggressively than in the past, raising the specter that it may have mutated into a nastier form, say two neurologists who have extensive experience dealing with the illness. ... So far this year, health authorities have reported more than 5,000 cases of West Nile illness and 228 deaths in 48 states, with Texas, California, Illinois and Michigan having the most cases (Vastag, 11/8).

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