Following reporting slower than expected sales for its Alzheimer’s drug in the United States as hospitals complained that the price of the drug was too high and its benefits did not meet the costs, Biogen Inc dropped the price of the drugs by about 50 per cent to $28,200 for an average weight person.
The drug, Aduhelm, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June. The drug is used for treating the brain-wasting disease even though an outside advisory panel of the regulator reported that Biogen the treatment’s clinical benefit had not been proven by the company.
A meeting of the US Medicare program, which pays for health services for people over 65 years, is scheduled for January in which a national policy for the drug is to be discussed. In the interim period, reimbursement for the drug has become more difficult.
The earlier cost of the treatment at $56,000 per year for an average weight person was viewed to be putting a major strain on Medicare, which pays for treatment of more than 60 million people in the country.
The drug maker now hopes that the drug will be greater access to the drug among patients because of the new annual price of $28,200, the company said.
Aduhelm was touted by Biogen to be the first new treatment in almost 20 years for the memory-robbing disease and the company has pinned its hopes on this drug to offset a hit it has taken form reduced sale of its other treatments and drugs that are facing stiff competition.
Aduhelm generated $300,000 in sales in the latest quarter, which was lower than analysts’ estimates.
“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,” Stifel analyst Paul Matteis said.
About 50,000 patients may begin treatment with Aduhelm in 2022 because of their insurance coverage and expanded access to diagnostics and specialized centers, Biogen said.
The medicine was first approved for all Alzheimer’s patients by the FDA, however it was later suggested for individuals with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia only.
Biogen also revealed cost-cutting plans through 2022, which may save the company $500 million per year.
(Adapted from FiercePharma.com)