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Breakthrough on reimbursement in France for prostate cancer product made by Eckert & Ziegler AG

Berlin, 15.12.2004. The Economics Committee for Health Products in France (Comité économique des produits de santé -- CEPS) has recommended that the French health ministry include as a reimbursable item in the French catalogue of healthcare benefits the proprietary product IsoSeed® made by BEBIG Isotopen- und Medizintechnik GmbH, the Berlin subsidiary of Eckert & Ziegler (ISIN DE0005659700). It is the first and so far the only miniature implant for the treatment of prostate cancer. Once the formalities of getting the recommendation accepted and published in the Official Gazette have been completed, the cost of the pencil-lead-thin rods can be freely reimbursed in France. The implants allow the dreaded disease prostate cancer to be treated with much lower incidences of impotence and incontinence than with surgical methods.

"When large-scale clinical comparison studies demonstrated the superiority of implants a few years ago, French doctors and hospitals were very quick to adopt the method", explained Dr. Edgar Löffler, the managing director of Eckert & Ziegler AG responsible for this therapeutic area. "Because of the considerable advantages for patients we expect the procedure to become the standard treatment for the early stages of prostate cancer in France, just as it has in America. In Germany the cost is at present reimbursable only for inpatients, i.e. for hospitals. The procedure cannot yet be provided as an outpatient benefit for patients in the statutory health insurance scheme. We are however making every effort to get the method included in the catalogue of reimbursable outpatient treatments (EBM 2000 plus)".

In France about 28,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year. At present most patients receive surgical treatment which, although it generally cures the cancer, often leads to side effects. With the minimally invasive IsoSeed® treatment, however, tiny rods are implanted in the tumour using a needle, a technique which is much less stressful and has fewer side effects. The method also does not require any follow-up or rehabilitation measures and is therefore very inexpensive.

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