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Congress Extends 2007 Reimbursement Rates for Radioimmunotherapies for 18 Months
Date:7/9/2008

SEATTLE, July 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (CTI) (Nasdaq and MTA: CTIC) announced that the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on June 24, 2008 and the U.S. Senate on July 9, 2008, would continue the 2007 reimbursement methodology for therapeutic radioimmunotherapies for an additional 18 months with a start date of July 1, 2008. In December, Congress froze reimbursement rates at the 2007 level for six months after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had released rates for 2008 that were lower than the acquisition cost for radioimmunotherapies like Zevalin(R) (Ibritumomab Tiuxetan). Manufacturers of radioimmunotherapies and CMS have been in discussion 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.

On July 3, 2008 CMS posted the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rulemaking for Calendar Year 2009. In the rulemaking, CMS proposed to pay Zevalin and other similar products based on the Average Sales Price (ASP) methodology which is currently used for drugs and biologicals. CTI plans to submit a public comment in support of the proposal.

"We are pleased law makers have listened to the voice of patients and healthcare providers who want access to these important anti-cancer therapies," said James A. Bianco, M.D., President and CEO of CTI. "We continue to work with Congress and CMS to establish a permanent payment methodology for reimbursing radioimmunotherapies, and look forward to the President signing the bill into law."

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 Unit
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SOURCE Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
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