CMS panel says evidence lacking for Amyvid

January 31, 2013

However, even some critical panelists suggested Medicare pay for the drug for patients enrolled in clinical trials, using coverage with evidence development mechanisms. Dr. Jeffrey W. Cozzens, the neurosurgery chair at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, said that a CED policy could help encourage more research.

Most of the specialists defending Amyvid relayed anecdotal evidence explaining how the test changed patient management and consequently improved quality of life.

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Dr. Howard Fillit, a practicing geriatrician and executive director of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, presented the case of one of his patients, an 80-year-old executive who wished to continue working. He complained of memory problems. After his MR scan came back normal, Dr. Fillit recommended lifestyle changes that seemed to help. Since Alzheimer's couldn't be ruled out yet, and there was a risk it might progress, an Amyvid scan was ordered.

"To my surprise it came back negative, and this changed things because he continued with his work with the lifestyle changes I recommended," said Fillit.

Without the negative confirmation, Fillit worried he might have undergone unnecessary treatment.

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