House committee decides against Provenge hearings

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce says it won't investigate a controversial FDA advisory committee vote on Dendreon's Provenge. Lawmakers said that because the FDA had yet to make a final ruling on the therapy, it would be premature to hold an inquiry into the vote. Two members of the committee have been accused of conflicts, including Howard Scher of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Scher is lead investigator for a trial of a competing therapy. The two were among a minority of four votes against a Provenge approval. The FDA, though, decided against the approval recommended by 13 panel members, saying that it wants to see data from an ongoing trial assessing its effectiveness at extending lives.

The panel vote and the FDA's subsequent action sparked a grassroots protest movement by prostate cancer victims, who see an agency conspiracy in play to protect the two advisory members. Cancer victims are demanding that the FDA allow the drug onto the market so that patients, many of whom are terminal, could potentially benefit.

- read the article in The Hill
here's the story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

ALSO: Shares of Dendreon shot up this morning when it released data correlating the cumulative potency of Provenge to overall survival. Report