WASHINGTON (AP) — Eli Lilly & Co. says it will push ahead with a first-of-a-kind imaging chemical designed to help screen for Alzheimer's disease, despite a negative ruling by Medicare officials.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said last week it will not cover the chemical, called Amyvid, which highlights brain plaque in medical imaging scans. The government program provides health coverage to more than 47 million seniors, and is the largest payer for prescription drugs in the U.S.

In its decision, posted online, Medicare said more trials are needed to prove the tool works. The government will pay for patients enrolled in future studies, but not for general use.

The radioactive imaging agent works by binding to beta-amyloid plaques and causing them to show up on positron emission tomography, or PET, scans of the patient's brain. The presence of these plaques may help indicate that a patient with cognitive problems has Alzheimer's disease, although such a scan does not definitively show that.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.