Despite their clinical benefit, the cost of drug-eluting stents is likely to increase scrutiny and second-guessing over which patients receive them, and physicians should be responsible for the final decision, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions said earlier this month in a report.
"We wanted the decision to be left in the hands of physicians," said John Hodgson, M.D., who serves as the society's president and chaired the 22-member task force. "We addressed these issues so that physicians could make informed decisions in the best interests of their patients."
The report, based on a six-month study and drafted by the panel, identifies the types of patients most likely to benefit from drug-eluting stents and it calls on Medicare and other health insurers to re-evaluate reimbursement. Drug-eluting stents cost hospitals about $1,400 per patient because of reimbursement shortfalls.
The report said drug-eluting stents will not be "cost-effective" for use in a wider range of patients until the price drops or reimbursement increases.