Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) lauded a new guidance released by the research arm of the U.K.’s National Health Service, the country’s publicly funded health care system.
The National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence issued a final guidance for bronchial thermoplasty as an option for patients with severe asthma that isn’t controllable with drugs, a boon for Boston Scientific’s Alair.
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 device has been in the U.K. since June 2011 and in other European countries since Sept. 2011, according to a press release.
"It is rewarding to receive positive guidance from NICE showing that BT is a safe and effective treatment option for severe asthma sufferers," Boston Scientific’s Tim Coutts said in prepared remarks. "The Alair system has been well received in the U.K. and other countries where it has gained increased acceptance among physicians and patients."
NICE issued a final guidance on the use of bronchial thermoplasty, urging respiratory teams to take special care to explain uncertainties to prospective patients, keep clinical leads informed about patients and audit clinical outcomes so more can be learned about the procedure in the long term.
"The latest evidence and expert opinion report that bronchial thermoplasty can lead to fewer asthma attacks and people having to take fewer medications or days off work due to illness," according to the NICE guidance. "However, some people who have had the procedure can also experience worsened symptoms in the short term. Also, evidence is not yet available to indicate whether the procedure reduces the severity and frequency of asthma attacks in the long term or whether it might cause any long-term damage to the lungs."
Alair recently won reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the U.S., effective at the start of this year.
In a second guidance, NICE also gave its support to a new generation of cardiac computed tomography scanners, including Siemens AG’s (NYSE:SI) Somatom Definition Flash; Toshiba Medical Systems Corp.’s Aquilion One; Philips Healthcare’s (NYSE:PHG) Brilliance iCT and GE Healthcare’s (NYSE: GE) Discovery CT750.
"The NICE guidance demonstrates there are financial savings to be made by the NHS using new generation scanners for cardiac imaging in these patients," GE European health economics team lead Geoff Wilson said in prepared remarks. "Moreover, following the guidance can lead to improved patient care, often eliminating the need for unnecessary investigations."
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