Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System Gets Government Funding in Both U.S. and Europe

LAUSANNE, Switzerland—Second Sight Medical Products announced that its Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Argus II) has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for both a new technology add-on payment (inpatient setting of care) and a transitional pass through payment (outpatient setting of care) beginning Oct. 1, 2013. This decision follows the annual NUB funding approval for Argus II for the last three years in Germany and limited local government funding in the NHS Hospital of Pisa in Italy. These payments are designed to support timely access to innovative technologies for insured patients.


 Argus II glasses, video processing unit and cable.


 Argus II epiretinal prothesis.
According to the recent CMS announcement, cases involving the Argus II System are eligible for new technology add-on payments under the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System in the US. Additionally, CMS has also established a transitional pass through payment for Argus II. This payment will be available to all hospital outpatient facilities and Ambulatory Surgical Centers that perform this procedure for Medicare beneficiaries.

“We are excited that Medicare in the USA has recognized that the Argus II provides a substantial clinical benefit to patients,” said Gregoire Cosendai, VP of European Operations for Second Sight. “This news will facilitates access to the retinal implant for patients across the world. After these markets we hope to have government funding approvals in France, England, Netherlands and other global markets.”

“After already being available and reimbursed in Germany and Italy for three years, the reimbursement approval for the Argus II Bionic Eye in the USA proves once again how important this technology is for the patients affected with blindness from the untreatable orphan disease Retinitis Pigmentosa,” said Professor José-Alain Sahel, Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology: Centre Hospitalier National d’Ophtalmologie des Quinze-Vingts, Paris, France.

“We hope that patients in France will also be able to get access to the only FDA and CE approved treatment in the world for patients suffering from RP. Physicians and patients are eagerly waiting for a similar decision in France, expected following the ongoing assessment by the Ministry of Health,” he said.

Second Sight’s European headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland. ■