January 26, 2022

Biogen to cut price of Alzheimer’s drug by half

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From Newsmax

DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images

Biogen Inc said on Monday [20] it would slash the price of its Alzheimer’s disease drug by about 50% after hospitals and lawmakers have complained that its cost was too high and its benefits uncertain, leading to slower-than-expected sales in the United States.

The drug, Aduhelm, became the first new treatment for the memory-robbing disease in nearly 20 years, after U.S. regulators cleared it in June despite questions over the drug’s effectiveness.

The $56,000 per year treatment will now cost $28,200 per patient annually, Biogen said.

The company has been banking on Aduhelm to buffer a hit to its main revenue drivers facing rising competition, but the drug faces slow uptake as several commercial insurers wait for further direction from Medicare before covering the drug.

“We are big fans of Biogen’s decision to cut the price of Aduhelm, and, in our view, this makes some level of reasonable Medicare reimbursement more likely,” said Stifel analyst Paul Matteis.

The government’s Medicare program for people aged 65 and older has raised the 2022 monthly premiums that seniors must pay for the health plan because of Aduhelm. It is set to announce a national policy on the use of the drug in January.

Biogen said with insurance coverage, and access to diagnostics and specialized centers, roughly 50,000 patients may initiate treatment with the Aduhelm in 2022.

It also announced a series of cost-reduction measures in 2022, which it estimates will result in $500 million in annualized savings.

The European Union’s drug regulator last week rejected the marketing application for Aduhelm, after a panel voted against the treatment in November. 

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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