CMS Unconvinced by Beta Amyloid PET Imaging

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Last week, the CMS held a Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) meeting to discuss coverage for Amyvid, a beta-amyloid PET imaging agent used for detecting neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The meeting convened at the request of Eli Lilly and Avid Radiopharmaceutical. Amyvid is used to potentially detect signs of early neurodegeneration by examining beta amyloid plaques in the brain. The panel reviewed available research, such as one study published in Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders, and heard testimony from medical experts, including representatives from the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance. Several statements were issued prior to CMS's decision. In a press release, Wei-Li Shao, senior director, Alzheimer’s Business Division, Eli Lilly and Company, said, “The overwhelmingly positive testimony presented by the medical experts around the clinical utility of beta-amyloid imaging agents reinforces that these tools should be a Medicare covered benefit for patients with cognitive impairment being evaluated for Alzheimer's Disease and other causes of cognitive decline.” Additionally, Gail Rodriguez, Executive Director of MITA, said in a press release, “The data and evidence presented to MEDCAC clearly demonstrate the clinical benefits of beta amyloid PET imaging for patients with signs of cognitive dysfunction.” Ultimately, the panel voted low on the confidence scale, an overall average of 2.4 out of 5, on whether beta amyloid testing can change health outcomes. Among the speakers at the meeting was Norman L. Foster, MD, who had presented at RSNA during a special session in November 2012, speaking about the importance of radiology in the field of dementing diseases. For a more details, click here to read the RadInformatics article on the presentation. Additionally, ImagingBiz has previously covered Eli Lilly’s radioactive tracer, Amyvid, when RadNet began offering the test at several of its centers. Click here for a more detailed look.