Alzheimer’s Groups Push For Brain Imaging To Be Covered By Medicare, Insurers.

Bloomberg News (1/28, Cortez) reports the Alzheimer’s Association and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging advocate that “advanced imaging that detects plaque in the brain should be covered by Medicare and private insurers for select people with dementia to help diagnose or rule out Alzheimer’s disease.” The recommendations “are the first to help govern the burgeoning field of brain imaging and may increase the use of the practice to improve care for the 5 million Americans affected with Alzheimer’s.” The article notes that “amyloid plaque is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease,” but not everyone who has it also is afflicted with Alzheimer’s. “PET scans require a drug injected into patients to highlight the plaque for doctors.” Eli Lilly’s Amyvid (florbetapir F 18 injection) is the “only compound currently approved for use with PET scans for this purpose,” and it is currently not covered by Medicare. The cost of the scans can vary from $1,000 to $3,000.

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— “Insurers Urged to Cover Brain Imaging for Alzheimer’s, “Michelle Fay Cortez, Bloomberg, January 28, 2013.

Posted in In The News.