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18-Month Extension of Reimbursement Rates for Radioimmunotherapies Becomes Law After Congressional Override of Presidential Veto
Date:7/15/2008

SEATTLE, July 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (CTI) (Nasdaq and MTA: CTIC) announced that Congress today passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which includes an 18-month extension of the 2007 reimbursement rate for radioimmunotherapies such as Zevalin(R) (Ibritumomab Tiuxetan), overriding President Bush's veto.

The bill was originally passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on June 24, 2008 and by the U.S. Senate on July 9, 2008. Last December, Congress froze reimbursement rates at the 2007 level for six months after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released rates for 2008 that were lower than the acquisition cost for radioimmunotherapies.

Manufacturers of radioimmunotherapies have been in discussion with CMS on a payment policy that more accurately reflects hospital costs associated with the therapy. These drugs are used to fight relapsed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), and can provide some patients with additional therapeutic options.

CTI purchased the U.S. sales, marketing, and development rights to Zevalin in late 2007 from Biogen Idec, Inc. Recently CTI reached an agreement with Bayer Schering Pharma, which has rights to Zevalin outside the United States, for access to pivotal trial data from the First-line Indolent Trial (FIT), which can potentially be used to expand the label in the U.S.

About Zevalin(R)

Zevalin(R) (Ibritumomab Tiuxetan) is a form of cancer therapy called radioimmunotherapy and is indicated as part of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen for treatment of relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, including patients with rituximab refractory follicular NHL. It was approved by the FDA in February of 2002 as the first radioimmunotherapeutic agent for the treatment of NHL.

Rare deaths associated with an infusion reaction symptom complex have occurred within 24 hours of rituximab infusions. Ytt
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SOURCE Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
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