On Thursday, U.S. regulators gave the green light to a highly anticipated treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, making it possible for Medicare and other insurance providers to begin paying for the drug.
Patients with moderate dementia and other indications of early Alzheimer’s disease have been approved to take the intravenous medication Leqembi. It’s the first drug that has been found to reduce the rate of decrease in cognitive abilities associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
After evaluating data from a larger, 1,800-patient research, the FDA found that those who received the medication reduced the decrease of memory and reasoning by around five months compared to those who received a dummy medicine.
Getting a medicine from the experimental stage to full FDA approval is typically overlooked. Getting a medicine through the FDA approval procedure is rarely the center of attention. However, Medicare officials announced last year that they wouldn’t pay for routine use of medications like Leqembi until they gain FDA’s complete approval, prompting months of lobbying from Alzheimer’s patients and organizations.
Medicare Insurance Coverage
It was feared that the price of new Alzheimer’s medications that target plaque would bankrupt the program, which currently cares for 60 million elderly people. The cost of a year’s worth of twice-monthly infusions of Leqembi is around $26,500.
Most people in the United States who have Alzheimer’s are covered by Medicare. Leqembi and Aduhelm, a medicine with comparable effects, are not covered by private insurance companies since they are awaiting FDA approval. There will be a significant delay until Aduhelm receives final FDA approval.
Patients with Medicare may be expected to pay more than the baseline 20% of the cost of Leqembi, depending on their specific coverage details and other factors.
It may take some time to get individuals started on the medicine, hospitals and medical clinics have warned.