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Patients, Physicians, and Industry Leaders Hold Briefing to Discuss the Importance of Expanding Access to Diagnostic Radiopharmaceuticals

Washington, DC, July 17, 2019 --( The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), along with the Council on Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc. (CORAR) and the Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), today hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with clinicians, advocates and industry representatives to discuss the importance of improving access to innovative diagnostic radiopharmaceutical technologies for American patients.

Speakers included Terri Wilson, Senior Director of Patient Access and Healthcare Policy at Blue Earth Diagnostics and current Chair of the MITA Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Group, Dr. Vasken Dilsizian, President of SNMMI and Professor of Radiology and Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Josh Mailman, inaugural chairperson of the SNMMI Patient Advocacy Advisory Board.

All three advocates pointed to the recently introduced Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act of 2019 (H.R. 3772) as a solution to address structural flaws in the current payment methodology and grant greater access to life-saving diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals for patients. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Scott Peters (CA-52), George Holding (NC-2) and Bobby Rush (IL-1).

“Passing this bill would be a huge step in ensuring patient access and equitable reimbursement for these important diagnostic tools,” said Wilson. “I applaud the original cosponsors of this legislation and urge their congressional colleagues to join them in supporting the Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act.”

In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began treating diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals as supplies and bundling or “packaging” the drugs with the cost of the procedure in hospital outpatient settings. This decision created a reimbursement structure for radiopharmaceuticals in the Medicare hospital outpatient setting that limited patient access to innovative diagnostic tools and stifled innovation.

“Diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals are incredibly effective in the diagnosis of a number of different diseases, among them prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” noted Dilsizian. “We’ve only really scratched the surface of potential with these technologies, and I expect we’ll see future improvements in these diagnostic tools if policy is adjusted to better reflect patient need.”

As a neuroendocrine tumor (NETS) patient, Mailman, offered a patient perspective on the benefits of radiopharmaceutical imaging. “Having advanced imaging available for neuroendocrine tumor patients is critical, as these advancements have helped clinicians determine the location and the extent of disease so they can better plan appropriate therapy for improved patient outcomes.”

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA, is the collective voice of medical imaging equipment manufacturers, innovators, and product developers. It represents companies whose sales comprise more than 90 percent of the global market for advanced medical imaging technology. For more information, visit Follow MITA on Twitter @MITAToday.­­­­­
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Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance
Tracy Cullen

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