Local News
5:20 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

UNC Doctor Says Cancer Drug Makers Need To Reveal Side Effects

Cancer drug makers should do a much better job explaining how their new products will impact patients' symptoms and quality of life. That's the message from a UNC doctor in a recent online piece in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Ethan Basch of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center says whenever he meets with patients, one of their first questions is about how a certain drug will make them feel. 

"But unfortunately, this information is frequently not available either to doctors or to patients," Dr. Basch said in a phone interview. "Almost none of the cancer drugs currently approved in the United States have this kind of information in the labels."

He says cancer patients can get severe fatigue, nausea, pain and other side effects from their drugs. He says that's crucial information for doctors and patients as they decide on the best treatment.

He wrote online in The New England Journal of Medicine on July 3 that adding that kind of information to drug labels would be a good place to start. He says it's up to pharmaceutical companies and the Food and Drug Administration to make those changes.