Medicare Recognizes NCCN Compendium

On June 5, 2008, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognized the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium (NCCN Compendium) as an authoritative source of information to be considered regarding coverage determinations about the use of drugs and biologics in cancer care. CMS and its intermediaries and carriers cover specific indications for the use of drugs and biologics if such indications are listed in recognized compendia. The main use of drug compendia is in decisions about indications of drugs beyond the FDA-approved label. At this writing, 2 other compendia are recognized: the American Hospital Formulary Service Compendium (AHFS) and DrugDex. The all important guidance from CMS to carriers and intermediaries on the use of the NCCN Compendium and other compendia likely will be released by the end of July 2008.The NCCN Compendium fully met the criteria established by the Medicare Evidence Development Coverage Advisory Committee (MedCAC) at its March 30, 2006 meeting. Of the 6 compendia evaluated by the MedCAC at that meeting, the NCCN Compendium received the best scores, by far, on important characteristics such as being evidence-based, having public transparency for evaluation of therapies, and including identification and notification of potential conflicts of interest.The recognition by CMS of the NCCN Compendium is the result of a collaborative effort over 3 years between the agency and the NCCN. The NCCN has added many features, such as a multi-faceted search capacity to facilitate use by decision-makers. Importantly, as noted by CMS, NCCN makes the NCCN Compendium available...

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William T. McGivney, PhD, is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and a recognized expert in coverage policy and drug and device regulatory policy. Before joining the NCCN in 1997, Dr. McGivney directed the Division of Health Care Technology at the American Medical Association and worked for Aetna Health Plans as Vice President for Clinical and Coverage Policy. Awarded the FDA Commissioner's Medal of Appreciation in 1989, Dr. McGivney has served on numerous national boards and committees. He earned his PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School.

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