Statement: FDA’s Reckless Decision to Approve Ineffective Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Causing Financial Pain for All Medicare Part B Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last week announced that the Medicare Part B standard premium would rise to $170 per month for all enrollees, a 15% spike over the 2021 premium level. Medicare officials told reporters that about half the increase is due to contingency planning if the program ultimately has to cover aducanumab (Aduhelm) for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, released the following statement:

“All Part B Medicare beneficiaries soon will be forced to bear significant financial burden as a direct result of the FDA’s reckless decision to approve aducanumab, a drug that has not been proven to provide any clinically meaningful benefit to Alzheimer’s patients but nevertheless carries an indefensible annual price tag set by Biogen at $56,000 per year for just the drug alone.

“To protect the many Medicare beneficiaries who cannot afford the unacceptable 15% jump in Part B premiums, CMS must promptly announce that it will exclude aducanumab from coverage under the Medicare program until there is definitive evidence that the drug provides substantial evidence of cognitive benefit to Alzheimer’s disease patients.”