FDA Approves Cheaper Osteoporosis Test

The Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of an ultrasound machine that tests for osteoporosis. Women can place their foot into the Hologic Inc.’s Sahara Bone Sonometer. The sonometer then measures the density of the heel by sending high-frequency sound waves through the bones, and comparing the speed of the sound waves through the heel.

The Sahara costs $30,000 and patients will pay around $40 for a test. Currently, physicians must use large x-ray machines that cost $70,000-$150,000 to test for osteoporosis. Women generally pay $127 for an x-ray test. Around 10 million Americans, most of whom are women, suffer from Osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease.

Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said, “Early diagnosis and treatment will improve the quality of life for millions of Americans who are at risk of fractures related to this condition.”


AP - March 16, 1998

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