UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Applauds HHS Secretary Becerra for Calling on Medicare to Reexamine its Planned Premium Increase
Agency Previously Blamed Alzheimer’s Patients to Justify Historic Premium Increase
Washington, D.C. (January 10, 2022) – Just weeks after UsAgainstAlzheimer’s urged Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to reverse Medicare’s planned premium increase, Becerra announced he is directing the agency to reassess that increase in light of Biogen’s decision to cut the cost of Aduhelm by half.
“We’re encouraged that Secretary Becerra is looking out for seniors on Medicare while also paying such close attention to the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s,” said George Vradenburg, chair and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “It was unprecedented for Medicare to blame a single patient group, in this case Alzheimer’s, to justify a historic premium increase. While the outcome is uncertain, we are relieved that the agency will now at least revisit the decision whether to increase premiums for Part B recipients.”
Becerra’s announcement comes two days before the deadline for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to announce whether it intends to cover the entire class of anti-amyloid drugs, including Aduhelm, under Medicare.
“I hope this is a sign that CMS will announce its plans to cover this class of drugs consistent with the label for each medication,” Vradenburg added. “Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers across the country are counting on CMS to issue a National Coverage Determination that gives patients and their families the ability to work with their doctors to determine the treatment that works best for them.”
Approximately six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, with someone in the United States developing the disease every 60 seconds. Aducanamab, sold under the brand Aduhelm, and other drugs in its class, work by targeting beta-amyloid, a protein that forms plaques in the brain which are believed to aid in the progression of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. This treatment may delay progression from mild cognitive impairment to moderate Alzheimer’s by as much as 2.5 years. Aduhelm is the first disease-modifying drug to be approved by the FDA in nearly 20 years.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s exists to conquer Alzheimer’s disease. We take on the toughest problems; bring all of “Us” together to break down barriers; advocate for research that will speed treatments to market; and drive changes that matter most to people living with the disease. We will not rest until brain-span equals lifespan - for everyone.