Healthcare Industry News: RITA Medical
News Release - March 30, 2006
RITA Medical Systems Provides Comment on New CIGNA Healthcare Coverage for Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) in Certain Lung Cancer CasesNation's Largest Private Healthcare Insurer First to Cover RFA for Lung Tumors
FREMONT, Calif., March 30 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- RITA Medical Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: RITA ), a publicly-traded medical device company focused solely on cancer therapies, today commented on new coverage initiated by CIGNA HealthCare for RFA in certain lung cancer cases. In the "CIGNA HealthCare Coverage Position" dated February 15, 2006 and published on the CIGNA HealthCare website, the Company notes that CIGNA Healthcare covers RFA as medically necessary for the treatment of lung masses in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or lung metastases who are not appropriate candidates for surgical intervention.
"We believe CIGNA is the first private healthcare benefits company to provide specific coverage for RFA to be used in the lung, which we believe represents an important milestone in the acceptance of RFA," said Joseph DeVivo, President and CEO of RITA Medical. "Lung cancer has the highest mortality of all cancers in Americans, according to the American Cancer Society, and treating these patients with RFA is an important potential market for RITA."
CIGNA's coverage position can be viewed at: http://www.cigna.com/health/provider/medical/procedural/coverage_positions/med ical/mm_0440_coveragepositioncriteria_ablation_pulmonary_tumors.pdf .
About RITA Medical
RITA Medical Systems develops, manufactures and markets innovative products for cancer patients including radiofrequency ablation (RFA) systems for treating cancerous tumors as well as percutaneous vascular and spinal access systems. The Company's oncology product lines include implantable ports, some of which feature its proprietary Vortex® technology; tunneled central venous catheters; and safety infusion sets and peripherally inserted central catheters used primarily in cancer treatment protocols. The product line also includes the HABIB 4X resection device which coagulates a "surgical resection plane" and is designed to facilitate a fast dissection in order to minimize blood loss and blood transfusion during surgery. The proprietary RITA RFA system uses radiofrequency energy to heat tissue to a high enough temperature to ablate it or cause cell death. In March 2000, RITA became the first RFA Company to receive specific FDA clearance for unresectable liver lesions in addition to its previous general FDA clearance for the ablation of soft tissue. In October 2002, RITA again became the first company to receive specific FDA clearance, this time for the palliation of pain associated with metastatic lesions involving bone. The RITA Medical Systems website is at www.ritamedical.com.
The statements in this news release related to reimbursement by CIGNA for the use of RFA in the lung, the mortality related to lung cancer in the United States, the growth of physician adoption of RFA treatment, the safety and the efficacy of RFA, the impact of CPT codes, and the achievement of key milestones and regulatory approvals are forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: the Company's ability to compete with companies offering alternative therapies for solid cancerous and benign tumors; the Company's lack of long-term data regarding the safety and efficacy of its RFA products; the Company's success in its physician training efforts; market acceptance and physician adoption of the Company's products for existing or new indications; competitive pressures; the ability of users of the Company's products to receive reimbursement from third-party payors, governmental programs or private insurance plans; and general economic and political conditions. Information regarding these risks is included in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Source: RITA Medical Systems
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