Berlin, 12 January 2021. Seed implantation for prostate cancer is now to be reimbursed as an outpatient treatment by public health insurances in Germany. This was decided by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) with effect from January 8, 2021.
Seed implantation or so called LDR brachytherapy is an organ-preserving, minimally invasive radiation procedure. In this procedure, millimeter-sized, low-level radioactive titanium tubes are inserted into the prostate while protecting the surrounding tissue. Compared to other treatment options, such as removal of the prostate or external radiation therapy, brachytherapy has a different side effect profile that is often more beneficial for the patient.
"We are pleased that the treatment costs of seed brachytherapy for prostate cancer are now to be covered by the public health insurance funds, both on an inpatient and outpatient basis," explains Dr. Harald Hasselmann, member of the Executive Board of Eckert & Ziegler AG and responsible for the Medical segment. "In its summary assessment, the G-BA recognizes the benefit of the method as sufficiently proven and its medical necessity as given."
"As a result of the consideration of benefit and medical necessity, brachytherapy for localized prostate cancer can achieve a PSA-based recurrence-free survival comparable to other curative therapies (radical prostatectomy, percutaneous radiotherapy). The side effect profile of LDR brachytherapy shows advantages in terms of preservation of continence and sexual function as well as bowel function," summarizes the G-BA in its overall assessment of interstitial brachytherapy for localized prostate cancer with a low risk profile.
There are approximately 473,000 new cases of prostate cancer in Europe each year (Globocan, 2020). In Germany, inpatient seed brachytherapy has been included in the reimbursement catalog of health insurance companies since 2004. Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG is the European market leader for seeds and produces them at its Berlin site.
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Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG is a global provider of radiotherapy products and a leader in brachytherapy in Europe. The company’s offices and subsidiaries are located throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. In addition, Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG has a worldwide network of distributors and agents to support the international marketing and distribution of its product lines. In recent years, Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG has grown through the acquisitions of US-based Mick Radio-Nuclear Instruments, Inc. and the x-ray device manufacturer WOLF-Medizintechnik GmbH (WOmed). Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG is the oldest subsidiary of the Eckert & Ziegler Group. The Eckert & Ziegler Group is one of the world's largest providers of isotope technology for medical, scientific, and industrial use. The core businesses of the Group are cancer therapy, industrial radiometry, and nuclear-medical imaging.
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