BIO Deutschland organises press breakfast on the topic of liquid biopsy
On 26 July, BIO Deutschland invited members of the press to the association’s headquarters in Berlin to present the benefits, possibilities and limits of liquid biopsy. On hand for discussions with the press were Gisela Kempny, Managing Director of the Federal Association of German Pathologists; Michael Hummel, head of the Molecular Pathological Laboratory at the Charité’s Institute of Pathology; Thomas Theuringer, Senior Director of Public Relations & Digital Communication at Qiagen; and Viola Bronsema, Managing Director of BIO Deutschland. Along with real-life application examples from oncology, the participating experts illustrated the activities of German biotech companies in this specialised field of companion diagnostics and gave an overview of tests that already exist and have been approved. Also discussed at length were reimbursement issues, because Germany’s standard fee scale for physicians (Einheitlicher Bewertungsmaßstab, or EBM) that went into effect on 1 July explicitly foresees reimbursements for companion diagnostics, but not for gene expression analyses nor analyses of free nucleic acids in plasma. The experts agreed that despite the sometimes exaggerated promises of cure circulating around liquid biopsy’s potential, it is already today an important diagnostic method that can provide not only valuable additional information about tissue biopsies, but can also be very useful in therapeutic decision making and therapeutic monitoring. They further stated that liquid biopsy is still formally excluded from reimbursement, but that this needs to be amended.
The press release for the event can be found here (in German): www.biodeutschland.org/pressemitteilungen.html