Non-invasive Technology for Measuring Liver Fat and Stiffness, Answers Payer Needs to Address NAFLD-NASH Epidemic

March 24, 2020, Published in Business Wire

Echosens has arranged an independent assessment conducted by Santa Barbara Actuaries Inc. (SBA), an actuarial and healthcare consulting firm specializing in cutting-edge predictive modeling and analytics, to determine the cost savings of FibroScan care models implemented at the point of care. FibroScan provides a non-invasive, rapid and painless examination that is covered under commercial, Medicare and Medicaid, empowering healthcare providers with an accurate tool to measure liver fat and stiffness. This innovative technology advances efforts to halt the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects approximately 85 million Americans and is the leading cause of liver disease in the United States, and its more progressive state of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) that is estimated to affect 16 million people. 

Ian Duncan, FSA, MAAA, principal, and founder of SBA, says, “We expect that the nation’s payers will welcome this economic impact assessment, given the unrelenting increase of NAFLD prevalence that has led to a significant rise in associated health care and financial burdens. Furthermore, these challenges are compounded by the boom in childhood obesity and an aging population. With the approval of the first pharmaceutical therapy for fatty liver disease expected later this year, there is a critical and growing need for this inexpensive tool to evaluate and manage these patients.”

As the newest enhancement to FibroScan, FibroScan-AST (FAST) Score combines the fat and stiffness values from the FibroScan exam with aspartate aminotransferase (AST), a marker of inflammation. FAST is a tool to more efficiently and more economically identify patients with a high probability of active fibrotic NASH from among those patients with suspicion of having NAFLD.

Jon Gingrich, CEO, Echosens North America, says, “This study will help healthcare providers, benefits decision-makers and payers understand how an examination with FibroScan at the point of care can improve the quality of specialist referrals, as well as mitigate the need for invasive or expensive testing and biopsies. Given the global liver disease epidemic, the need for cost-effective and efficient technology like FibroScan and FAST is paramount, giving healthcare providers an accurate, cohesive and first-line approach to assessing liver damage. This technology also helps to more efficiently identify and monitor the patients who are suitable for clinical trials, drug prescriptions, and emerging therapies.”

The rising prevalence of NAFLD closely mirrors the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. It is expected that over the next few years, the pharmaceutical treatment market for NAFLD-NASH could potentially reach $35 billion.