Reimbursement of retinal implant for trial participants

French health authority HAS (Haute Autorité de Santé) has just approved the Forfait Innovation application by Retina Implant AG to assess the benefits of its RETINA IMPLANT Alpha AMS subretinal implant. The procedure evaluates innovative technologies in the healthcare sector to quickly make them available to patients. As part of the Forfait Innovation process, over a two-year period the costs will be covered for the implant and treatment of a limited number of patients who perceive little or no light. Retina Implant AG fund the costs for the accompanying study, which is examining the impact of the implant on participants’ daily lives (Impact on daily life of patients using the subretinal implant RETINA IMPLANT Alpha AMS).
Following the successful conclusion of the study, the implant will be added to the list of approved services of health insurance companies in France. As a result of the reimbursement, an innovative technology can be made available to patients with the hereditary retinal disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which leads to total blindness in the final stage. Although RP is a rare disease, some 130,000 people suffer from it in Europe alone. The subretinal implant is virtually invisible except for a small transponder fixed behind the ear. The implant can partially restore the sight of blind people suffering from RP. This means a large proportion of patients can make out light sources with the RETINA IMPLANT Alpha AMS and thus find their way around a room, for example.
“For some time now, work has been in progress to focus attention on the practical benefits for visually impaired people in their everyday lives, alongside standard sight measurements. We’re delighted this study is taking particular account of this aspect,” explains Jürgen Klein, Sales and Marketing Director at Retina Implant AG. “France is therefore taking a leading role in Europe in evaluating subretinal implants.” The study will be performed in close cooperation between the university hospital CHU Montpellier for screening and patient follow-up and the implantation cen-tre Clinique St Jean in Montpellier for the surgery, with further centres planned.