The follow-up to the U.S. 21st Century Cures Act, dubbed Cures 2.0, encodes several anticipated features such as a Medicare coverage mechanism for breakthrough devices and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Less expected was a provision for the use of real-world evidence in evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of drugs and biologics after FDA approval, a provision that could prove useful in post-approval evaluations of products such as Biogen’s Aduhelm.
The decision by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to suspend the Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) rule a second time was controversial, but CMS’s Tamara Syrek Jensen vowed that the agency has made no final decision. Jensen acknowledged that the agency has not foreclosed a full-blown rescission of the MCIT proposal, a not-implausible outcome given the prospect that legislation in the works in the House Energy and Commerce Committee could render the rule moot.
Early feasibility studies for cardiology devices were a massive problem for the FDA and industry in times gone by, a problem that was believed to drive device flight from the U.S. That problem has been largely solved, according to the FDA’s Andrew Farb, but Farb noted that neurological devices are the next target for improved early feasibility study (EFS) development in the U.S., which suggests that the path to pivotal studies for devices in this space will soon be much less cumbersome.
Despite support from a wide range of stakeholders and bipartisan congressional support, the U.S. CMS has suspended implementation of the Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) rule through Dec. 15, 2021. CMS argued that most of the approved or cleared breakthrough devices are already covered through existing payment mechanisms, but the delay opens the door to any one of multiple possible legislative solution, such as follow-on legislation to the 21st Century Cures Act.
The latest global regulatory news, changes and updates affecting medical devices and technologies, including: FDA says backlog of non-COVID applications will be cleared in eight weeks; NIH awards $33M for return-to-school efforts; Advamed tells CMS not to delay on MCIT.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has imposed a 60-day delay in the implementation of the Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technologies (MCIT) program, stating that the MCIT draft rule was developed under a flawed assumption about the volume of eligible breakthrough devices. CMS said the situation suggests that the public did not have an appropriate opportunity to comment on the proposed rule, a predicament that suggests the possibility that the MCIT program might not survive the Biden administration’s regulatory review.
The Advanced Medical Technology Association’s (Advamed) new board chairman, Michael Minogue, president and CEO of Abiomed Inc., noted that the association’s agenda for 2021 includes considerations of several headwinds. However, Advamed President and CEO Scott Whitaker said the Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technologies (MCIT) program should commence March 15 as planned, despite the overhang of the Biden administration’s regulatory review of all orders posted in the last days of the Trump administration.
The Biden administration imposed a regulatory freeze in January, which among other things affected the final rule for the Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technologies (MCIT) program. Despite the freeze, Cybil Roehrenbeck, a partner in the D.C. office of Hogan Lovells US LLP, told BioWorld that this program enjoys broad support in Washington, and thus should survive the new administration’s review of the program under Xavier Becerra, should he be appointed the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
U.S. FDA warning letters have been a staple of regulatory life since the late 1990s, but James Boiani, a regulatory attorney with Epstein, Becker & Green P.C., said it’s no stretch of the imagination that warning letter volumes will jump in 2021. This is to some extent because the volume of warning letters dropped significantly over the past four years, and Boiani advised that all FDA-regulated industries will see more warning letters unless they are communicative with the agency about inspectional findings.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had packaged a proposal to redefine the term “reasonable and necessary” along with the proposal to cover FDA-designated breakthrough devices, but ultimately punted on the definitional question until the end of this year. Mark Leahey, president and CEO of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA), told BioWorld that it may be just as well that the agency didn’t expeditiously push through the reasonable and necessary question because of the enormous complexity of the proposal.