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91 Percent of Oncologists Polled Report Adverse Patient Events as Result of CMS National Coverage Decision on ESAs
Date:1/30/2008

HOUSTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- In a national poll of medical oncologists and hematologists, 91 percent reported the occurrence of adverse patient events in the 12-week period following the implementation of the new CMS coverage criteria for Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs).

Sponsored by US Oncology and conducted by KJT Group, a national healthcare research company, the blinded, quantitative national survey of community-based oncologists included closed and open-ended questions about the impact of the new CMS National Coverage Decision on Medicare patients, treatment protocols, and physician practices. The number of US Oncology affiliated physicians were limited to less than 20 percent of all respondents to ensure the survey results were representative of the national oncology community. With a total sample size of 307 oncologists and hematologists, the overall margin of error is +/- 5.6 percent.

Dr. Kenneth J. Tomaszewski, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester's School of Medicine and founder of the KJT Group, said, "the need to determine how policy change affects real life practice is critical to understanding its true impact. This study provides evidence that the National Coverage Decision, as it relates to ESAs, may have costs associated with quality of life decrements and increased treatment times that may outweigh the benefits for some patients."

Among the adverse outcomes reported by the oncologists and hematologists participating in the poll, transfusions were the primary event experienced by Medicare patients.

-- 73 percent Potentially avoidable transfusions

-- 65 percent Patient remained symptomatic of anemia despite ESA use

according to the National Coverage Decision

-- 54 percent Interruption of chemotherapy, dose reduced or changed due

to anemia

-- 39 percent ESA treatment terminated due to failure to meet the<
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SOURCE US Oncology, Inc.
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