Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm faces crucial Medicare decision

Articles supporting the coverage include comments from people who have consulted for Biogen, such as Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, a research pro...

Articles supporting the coverage include comments from people who have consulted for Biogen, such as Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, a research professor in the department of brain health at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. He wrote that the drug “extends the mental lives of our declining patients,” adding, “Medicare should unequivocally support aducanumab coverage, and they should do so as soon as possible.

Dr Cummings and several others paid by Biogen were among 25 who signed another letter to the site. Supporting comments also came from officials at the Infusion Access Foundation and Eli Lilly, who developed a similar anti-amyloid drug.

A neurologist, Dr David Weisman, who said he was not involved in the aducanumab trials but had worked with other anti-amyloid drugs, wrote that Medicare should require safety monitoring and medical expertise. But because the FDA approved Aduhelm, he wrote, its use “should be left to patients, family members and doctors.”

Commentators who opposed the coverage or wanted it to be strictly limited cited many reasons. In addition to insufficient evidence of benefits, they mentioned inequalities that could worsen because Medicare coverage would not include all treatment costs; unknowns about Aduhelm’s effects on non-white patients, since most of the trial participants were white; and the risks that for-profit clinics could exploit the desperation of patients and families.

A letter, signed by 180 Alzheimer’s physicians, raised many questions, including “the harms people may experience with aducanumab in the real world, outside of a clinical trial,” as participants in clinical trials for the drug were “younger and in early stages of cognitive decline, had fewer comorbidities, and were much better monitored than patients will be under broad Medicare coverage.”

An author of that letter, Dr Michael Greicius, medical director of the Stanford Center for Memory Disorders, said: not going to cover this up. The evidence is too poor.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm faces crucial Medicare decision
Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm faces crucial Medicare decision
Newsrust - US Top News
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