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Analysts blindsided by the price of new Alzheimer’s drug

– Monday brought the big news that the FDA had approved the first new Alzheimer’s drug in 20 years. Then came the news of its price. That would be $ 56,000 for a year’s worth of Aduhelm, also known as aducanumab (a user’s cost without a pocket depends on their insurance). CNBC reports that the shoulders are above $ 10,000 to $ 25,000, Wall Street analysts describe as expected. Maker Biogen asked questions about the award on Tuesday, in which an analyst quoted a perceived “interruption”

; between the award and the words used in a press release on the drug – “responsibility, access, [and] Biogens explains: Alzheimer’s costs the United States billions a year, making the price “responsible”, according to Biogen execs. More:

  • These experts promised to freeze this price for the next four years, saying the revenue from Aduhelm will allow Biogen to continue to pursue other drugs. Fierce Pharma reports that this revenue could be staggering thanks to the FDA’s decision to approve the drug for all Alzheimer’s patients in proportion to a subset of them and not set a limit on how long patients should take the drug. That could result in sales approaching $ 10 billion annually before the decade is out.
  • But it’s just the price of the drug itself, which is administered monthly via IV. Bloomberg reports that those taking it also need expensive brain scans to check that there is no swelling in the brain and there will be significant costs associated with facilitating these infusions.
  • And then there is the question of whether the drug will work: the FDA approved with its approval warnings from independent advisers that the drug had not been shown to help slow down the brain-destroying disease. As Barrons and Financial Times report, $ 56,000 is many times $ 2,500 to $ 8,300 a year Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, “an influential voice on drug prices,” said in May that it would be consistent with the clinical benefits that the drug offers. ICER said that the price of Biogen would only be appropriate if the drug actually managed to stop cognitive decline.
  • Barrons notes that the price could have an unpleasant side effect for pharmaceutical companies: Most of those taking the drug are on Medicare, and the massive economic impact it could have on Medicare could force lawmakers to finally tackle the topic of drug price reform.
  • That Financial Times suggests that Biogen has thick skin when it comes to pricing complaints, as it reports that it has previously posed over its pricey multiple sclerosis and drugs for spinal muscle atrophy.

(Read more stories about Alzheimer’s disease.)

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