Boston Scientific touts CMS reimbursement nod for asthma treatment | Regulatory Roundup


Boston Scientific Corp.’s (NYSE:BSX) Alair asthma management system won reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, effective at the start of this year.

The Alair system delivers precise thermal energy lung to tissue via bronchoscope to reduce excessively smooth muscle, decreasing the airway’s ability to constrict.

The federal agency granted the Alair device approval for Medicare reimbursement through a separate "pass-through" payment when the procedure is performed in outpatient settings, the Natick, Mass.-based med-tech titan announced.

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The approval allows hospitals to receive payment for the Alair catheter in addition to Medicare payment for the bronchial thermoplasty procedure, according to a press release.

"CMS’ decision that the Alair bronchial thermoplasty system meets the criteria for transitional pass-through payment is a very positive development for severe asthmatics and the pulmonary physician community," BSX endoscopy division president David Pierce said in prepared remarks."It supports what we have confirmed through our clinical trials:  bronchial thermoplasty offers a new advancement in the treatment of patients with severe asthma who are not well controlled despite taking recommended doses of asthma medications.  This decision also sets an important precedent for health care payers throughout the United States."

Boston Scientific added the Alair system to its portfolio when it acquired Asthmatx Inc. for $194 million in Sept. 2010. Alair won FDA approval in April 2010, becoming the first device-based asthma treatment approved by the watchdog agency.

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