Dr Howard Burris on Efforts Needed to Ensure Access to NGS Testing

Howard A. "Skip" Burris, III, MD, FACP, FASCO, president, clinical operations, and chief medical officer of Sarah Cannon Research Institute, discusses what's needed from a policy perspective to ensure access to next-generation sequencing tests.

As next-generation testing becomes more important with a growing amount of approved targeted therapies, what is needed from a policy perspective to ensure access to these tests?
Access to these tests and getting the various stakeholders together. if I were a payer at an insurance company, my question wouldn’t be whether I approve the testing or not, it would really be how could you be prescribing this new therapy, this relatively expensive therapy, without having a molecular profile on the patient. I think much like we’ve had legislation with regard to access to clinical trials, this sort of national education that cancer patients should be access agnostic to being able to getting a test performed, would be key.

A good first step has been the FDA approving some of these tests and then Medicare providing reimbursement. So, I feel optimistic that were moving in a direction where we’re going to begin to get policy makers across the country, the physicians across the country, to understand this is a critical piece of information cancer patients should know.
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