PULMONX ANNOUNCES THAT PRIORITY HEALTH NOW COVERS THE ZEPHYR VALVE, A LESS INVASIVE TREATMENT OPTION FOR SEVERE EMPHYSEMA (COPD)

The Priority Health® coverage policy for Endobronchial Valve Treatment is specific to the Zephyr Valve

REDWOOD CITY, California, August 28, 2019 – Pulmonx Corporation, a leader in therapeutic pulmonary device technologies, announced today that its Zephyr® Valve is now covered by Priority Health® under its revised lung volume reduction coverage policy. The Zephyr Valve treatment is a less invasive treatment option for severe emphysema (COPD) that has been shown to deliver life-changing benefits to patients without the risk of major surgery. The valves are placed bronchoscopically, and block off a diseased portion of the lung, thus allowing the healthier lung tissue to expand and take in more air. Clinical benefits include improved quality of life, less shortness of breath, and the ability to be more active.[1] The Zephyr Valve is the only endobronchial valve listed in Priority Health’s coverage policy.

Priority Health is part of an integrated health system owned by Spectrum Health, and is the second largest health plan in Michigan covering more than 700,000 members. With this policy, Priority Health joins other major insurers including Aetna® and Humana® who also cover the Zephyr Valve. This coverage decision means that the Zephyr Valve is now an available treatment option for over 30 million Americans with commercial insurance.

“It is wonderful that Priority Health is offering its members access to the least invasive and most effective treatment option for severe COPD/emphysema,” states Glen French, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pulmonx. “We are very pleased that now many more patients in Michigan will have access to this innovative new treatment.”

Under this new coverage policy, Priority Health specifically names the Zephyr Valve as being covered for qualifying patients. The Zephyr Valves are placed in the target lung lobe during a single bronchoscopic procedure with no incision.  The procedure carries much less risk than surgical options that include lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) and lung transplantation. The Zephyr Valve has been shown in numerous published clinical trials to improve pulmonary function, exercise capacity, shortness of breath, and quality of life of patients with severe emphysema.”[1],[2],[3]

“As a physician who manages many patients in Michigan with emphysema and COPD, I am very happy to see Priority Health offer its members access to the Zephyr Valve treatment option. While there is no cure, this treatment can provide significant life-changing benefits without the risks of major surgery,” said Dr. Gustavo Cumbo-Nacheli, a board-certified interventional pulmonologist, critical care medicine and pulmonary medicine physician at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. “Patients with COPD/emphysema suffer with very poor quality of life, and until the availability of the Zephyr Valve, had few treatment options that did not involve major surgery, so this treatment is a real game changer for these patients.”

During the procedure, an average of four Zephyr Valves are placed in the airways to block off a diseased portion of the lung, which is thereby reduced in size. Reducing hyperinflation and preventing air from getting trapped in the diseased parts of the lung allows the healthier lung tissue to expand and take in more air. This results in patients being able to breathe easier and have less shortness of breath.1 Patients treated with the Zephyr Valves have reported immediate relief and the ability to go back to doing everyday tasks with greater ease. 

More on the Zephyr Valves

The Zephyr Valve was approved by the FDA in June 2018 through an expedited review because, according to FDA, it “represents a breakthrough technology as the device offers bronchoscopic lung volume reduction without surgery and its associated risks. This device offers a significant, clinically meaningful advantage over the current standard of care and therefore, its availability is also in the best interest of patients.”[4] Since 2007 more than 15,000 patients have been treated with the Zephyr Valve worldwide. The Zephyr Valve treatment is included in emphysema treatment guidelines issued by leading health organizations worldwide, including the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) and the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

More about COPD and Emphysema

More than 15 million Americans suffer from COPD, and 3.5 million of those patients have emphysema.[5] Despite taking the best available medications, over one million emphysema patients suffer symptoms of hyperinflation, where air becomes trapped in the lungs and prevents fresh air from entering the lungs, thereby causing severe shortness of breath. Breathing becomes inefficient and patients must work very hard just to breathe – making normal activities, like walking, eating, or even bathing difficult. There are few treatment options for most patients with emphysema and there is no cure. Until now, the only other options for these patients were highly invasive treatments such as lung volume reduction surgery or lung transplantation.

About Pulmonx Corporation

Based in Redwood City, California, and Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Pulmonx is the world leader in interventional pulmonology planning tools and treatments for obstructive lung disease. For more information, visit www.MyLungsMyLife.com. 

Media Contact: Meghan Oreste, 617-823-1441, megoreste@gmail.com

[1] Am J Respir Crit Care Med Vol 198, Iss 9, pp 1151–1164, Nov 1, 2018
[2] Kemp S et al. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2017;  (196)12: 1535-1543
[3] Valipour et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016; Vol 194, Iss 9, pp 1073-1082 and Data on file at Pulmonx
[4] PMA P180002: FDA Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data. June 29, 2018. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cdrh_docs/pdf18/P180002B.pdf.
[5] American Lung Association. Trends in COPD (Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema): Morbidity and Mortality. March 2013.
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