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Medicare widens drugs it accepts for cancer care

New York Times, January 27, 2009
Medicare has expanded its coverage of drugs for cancer treatments not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Cancer doctors had clamored for the changes, saying that some of these treatments were essential if patients were to receive the most up-to-date care. But for many such uses there is scant clinical evidence that the drugs are effective, despite costing as much as $10,000 a month. The new Medicare rules are the latest twist in a protracted debate over federal spending on drugs prescribed for uses other than those for which they have been specifically approved.