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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

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mandated hemoglobin (Hgb) response rates within 8 weeks.

"We have heard anecdotal accounts of adverse patient events resulting from the new national coverage decision on ESAs, but it was important to statistically quantify the effects the decision is having on patients," said Michael Kolodziej, M.D., chairman of the US Oncology network's P&T physician committee and a practicing medical oncologist in the Albany, NY area.

"Highly respected oncology professional organizations like ASCO and ASH (American Society of Clinical Oncologists and American Society of Hematologists) have already weighed in on the ESA guidelines they think are appropriate based on the prevailing medical evidence. We believe it is also important to capture what practicing medical oncologists and hematologists are seeing in their offices -- with real patients on a daily basis."

The respondents estimated that the average number of patients requiring potentially avoidable transfusions accounted for approximately 17 percent of their Medicare patients in the 12-week period preceding the research study. However, nine percent of the respondents indicated that it was impacting an average of 50 percent of their Medicare patients.

When asked whether they had found it necessary, under NCD-mandated ESA use, to reduce or modify chemotherapy treatments that may not be optimal given the patients' health status or disease stage, 30 percent answered affirmatively. On average, responding oncologists estimate that one of every five Medicare patients had their chemotherapy altered to a less than optimal regimen, and 43 percent reported that they had to modify the chemotherapy regimens for as many as 30 percent of their Medicare patients. The physicians also voiced their strong consensus (78 percent completely or somewhat agreed) that the current NCD guidelines impact the quality of care they are able to deliver to their patients.

"The results of this study prov
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SOURCE US Oncology, Inc.
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