Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Not Lining Up

Payors are not stepping up to cover Aduhelm, the controversial Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen, the Economist writes.

This, it adds, is due to not only questions over whether the treatment works, but also its price tag.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Biogen's Aduhelm (aducanumab) in June 2021. Biogen had ended its trials of the drug, saying it wasn't as effective as hoped, but resurrected it after a newer analysis suggested it slowed cognitive decline among some Alzheimer's disease patients. FDA then approved it under its accelerated approval pathway, even though its advisory panel found there was not enough evidence to support approval.

Aduhelm was further priced at $56,000 a year, though Biogen later dropped the price to $28,000. This, the Economist notes, is still higher than the $3,000 to $8,400 a year the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review says it should cost.

These factors, the Economist writes, have given both private and government payors pause. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in January that it would only cover the drug for patients in clinical trials, a decision the Economist notes the agency is to revisit in April. Biogen, it adds, is laying off about 10 percent of its workforce and needs wider coverage.

Filed under