Aduhelm’s Approval May Come at Major Cost to Medicare

Marking the first FDA approval of an Alzheimer’s disease treatment in nearly 20 years, the federal agency on June 7 gave accelerated approval to Biogen Inc. and Eisai Co., Ltd.’s Aduhelm (aducanumab-avwa). While its approval was met with controversy over conflicting trial data and the drug’s $56,000 price tag, it was viewed as a turning point by some Alzheimer’s advocacy groups in the long road to finding a treatment that may slow the debilitating disease’s progression. The ultimate cost to the Medicare program and to Medicare Advantage insurers, meanwhile, will largely depend on whether neurologists are willing to prescribe it, what kind of national coverage policy CMS gives it and whether it could generate any medical cost offsets over the long term.

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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