Biogen halves price of controversial Alzheimer’s drug

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Biogen on Monday cut in half the price of its Alzheimer’s drug Aduhlem in an effort to boost lackluster sales that stemmed in part from controversy over its price. 

The company said Aduhelm will cost $28,200 per year for an average-weight patient, down from the $56,000 a year when the drug first launched last summer. 

Sales of the drug yielded only $300,000 for Biogen between July and September after forecasts had predicted revenue to reach $12 million. 

Biogen said the price cut is aimed at lowering out-of-pocket expenses for patients as well as “reducing the potential financial implications for the U.S. healthcare system.”

Seniors are facing a looming spike in Medicare premiums in part to ensure the program has enough money set aside in case it has to cover Aduhelm. Monthly premiums are set to rise by $21.60, the largest increase in recent years. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is reviewing the evidence for a potential national policy for the drug.

The drug has drawn controversy both for its price and because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it despite doubts from experts about its effectiveness. 

FDA granted accelerated approval for the drug on June 7. Aducanumab, sold under the name Aduhelm, was the first new Alzheimer’s drug approved in nearly 20 years, but the approval came over the near-unanimous objections of the FDA’s expert advisory committee. 

Three members subsequently resigned.

Additionally, the approval came after two large-scale trials to gauge the drug’s efficacy were halted early because they were deemed unlikely to work. 

The FDA had initially approved the drug for all Alzheimer’s patients, but in July narrowed its intended use to only patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia.

Tags Aduhelm Alzheimer's BIOGEN Biogen drug pricing FDA

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