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Medicare Must Study Unproven, Expensive Alzheimer’s Drug

Medicare cannot indiscriminately cover the cost of Aduhelm for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease without first evaluating whether it truly works.

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Originally published on 06/15/2021 in Bloomberg Opinion

The FDA approved Aduhelm based on inconclusive clinical trial data and against the recommendations of their own advisory committee.

This approval decision opens up the floor for Aduhelm to treat the approximately 6 million Americans with Alzheimer's at an unsustainable cost of $56,000 per patient per year. As the vast majority of patients with Alzheimer's are over 65, Medicare cannot rely on private insurers to negotiate prices.

Instead, Peter Bach and Craig Garthwaite propose Medicare use its existing powers to evaluate whether Aduhelm truly slows the progression of Alzheimer's and send a signal that Medicare reimbursement is not guaranteed for drugs without proven efficacy.

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