Questions Raised Upon Alzheimer’s Drug’s Price And Effectiveness

It was celebrated as a breakthrough when regulators approved the Alzheimer’s treatment four months back for the first time in about 20 years.

But now, its production is slowed down as questions are being raised against its price and effectiveness.

Many major medical centers are uncertain about whether they should use Biogen’s Aduhelm or not.

Questions Raised Upon Alzheimer’s Drug’s Price And Effectiveness

Biogen’s Aduhelm is recommended for use among citizens at the early stage of the disease.

Clinics like the Cleveland Clinic and Mass General Brigham say that they will be passing the drug on for now. 

A Neurology practice even banned Biogen’s sales representation from its offices.

Questions Raised Upon Alzheimer's Drug's Price And Effectiveness

The ban comes as questions are arising about the drug’s cost. It is estimated that the price range may be as much as $50,000 annually.

Several doctors say that they will prefer to study more about how the drug works, and then only they will decide whether they will be offering it or not. Although it is not sure when the answer will be clear, it may even take months.

An analyst, Salim Syed, said, ” despite being accessible, the drug will not be for everybody.” Syed says that only about one-tenth of all early-stage Alzheimer patients will be able to get it. That too if the regulators also approve similar drugs from pharma other than Biogen.

Biogen itself is not stating how many Alzheimer patients have received the drug since it got its approval on June 7. A company, however, said that they were aware of 50 sites that were ready to infuse Aduhelm drug. The numbers are far lower than the company expected. Biogen expected that at least 900 sites would have been administering the drug shortly after the drug was approved.

Aduhelm is the first of its kind treatment that promises to produce results no other drug can in Alzheimer’s treatment. Biogen’s Aduhelm drug is said to slow down the progress of the disease. Other drugs so far could only manage the symptoms of the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal brain-destroying disease.

Dr. Stephen Salloway, a neurologist and a Biogen consultant, appreciates the drug and said, ” the drug is like a breath of fresh air.” He added, “every patient with Alzheimer’s disease wants to stay in the middle stage. Alzheimer’s patients can do whatever they can to control the disease.”

The Food and Drug Administration approved Biogen’s Aduhelm drug against its several independent advisors’ suggestions. After the committee’s approval, several of the advisors resigned. The FDA later clarified that the drug is safe and effective for Alzheimer patients with mild symptoms and early-stage Alzheimer’s.

The drug Aduhelm promises to clear brain plaques that are found to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. FDA decided to recommend Biogen’s Aduhelm after assessing the reports that show that it benefits patients. However, the FDA has asked Biogen to perform a follow-up study for the drug.

Dr. Brendan Kelley, a neurologist, said, ” Biogen submitted the basic preliminary data to the FDA for approval. With that much data, we are unable to get enough insight about the working of Aduhelm.”

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