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Roche’s ‘Brilliant Concept’ Fades Amid Doctor Disappointment

The Avastin medicine has largely lived up to its billing as an innovative way to attack tumors, along the way generating the most revenue for any cancer drug while being Roche Holding AG’s best-selling treatment with 6.46 billion Swiss francs ($6.88 billion) in sales last year.

Only now are the limitations of Avastin, introduced in 2004, becoming clear to doctors. Even before U.S. regulators in December moved to revoke the drug’s conditional approval for treating breast cancer, Kent Osborne, a Texas oncologist, said in an interview that he was reducing use of the drug, citing its “huge” costs, disappointing benefits and frequent side effects.