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Rocker Sammy Hagar hits FDA for blocking drug needed to save friend

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Health,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Health Care,FDA

Rock great Sammy Hagar and members of bands Van Halen, Night Ranger and Deep Purple are begging a reluctant Food and Drug Administration to let the dying wife of Hagar’s drummer to receive experimental treatment for her brain tumor.

In a passionate letter accompanied by one from California Gov. Jerry Brown’s top health official, Hagar, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, Night Ranger's Jack Blades and former Deep Purple guitarist Joe Satriani called the drug a “flickering flame of hope” and life-saver.

They added that continuing to deny the use of the experimental treatment on Liza Cozad-Lauser, wife of drummer David Lauser, was a misuse of power.

“There is no decision more personal than a decision about one’s personal health, particularly when it involves matters of life and death,” they wrote to the FDA. “When government becomes a barrier to hope itself, it has exceeded its mandate.”

Antineoplaston therapy is currently being tested, and there isn’t the needed evidence yet that it works.

Still, said Dr. Ron Chapman, Brown’s director of the department of public health, “in the case of terminal cancer, and the patient’s and family’s willingness to consent to the administration of experimental treatment by a licensed medical clinic already involved in trials of this treatment with FDA approval, permitting treatment may provide some benefit to the patient. Please grant a compassionate waiver and honor this request for a single patient protocol.”

A former pro tennis player, Cozad-Lauser was diagnosed last April with a brain tumor within her brainstem that’s inoperable.

According to reports, the FDA is allowing some to use the treatment, but put a hold on use by new patients, prompting the rock stars and California Department of Public Health to go public this week with their campaign to get it for Cozad-Lauser.

“For Liza and David, the belief that the antineoplastons treatment could be effective is the flickering flame of hope that drives them in the battle against the cruel enemy that is cancer,” the musicians wrote.

The FDA would not discuss her case, but has so far rejected the plea. "While we cannot discuss specific patient cases, providing patients with treatment options that are proven to be safe and effective is important to the FDA. The majority of the new drugs approved by the FDA last year carry cancer indications. Many of the recent approvals are in disease areas that previously had few or no treatment options," said the agency.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.