Alzheimer’s remedy Leqembi might price Medicare as much as $5 billion per 12 months, research estimates

The Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi is seen on this undated handout picture obtained by Reuters on Jan. 20, 2023.

Eisai | Reuters

The brand new Alzheimer‘s antibody remedy Leqembi might price Medicare as much as $5 billion per 12 months, in response to research printed in a number one medical journal this week.

Medicare would spend about $2 billion per 12 months if round 85,700 sufferers check optimistic for the illness and are handled with the Eisai and Biogen product Leqembi, in response to the analysis printed Thursday in JAMA Inside Medication.

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This system for seniors would spend $5 billion if round 216,500 sufferers develop into eligible for the breakthrough remedy, in response to the research.

The authors stated the estimated prices to Medicare are conservative and that spending on Leqembi would possibly improve greater than anticipated relying on demand and different elements.

The researchers who performed the JAMA research included physicians and public well being and coverage consultants. They’re affiliated with the College of California Los Angeles, the Rand Company, Harvard Medical College and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Heart in Boston, amongst different establishments.

Eisai and Biogen have priced the twice-monthly antibody infusions at $26,500 per 12 months.

There are additionally further annual prices estimated at $7,300 per affected person related to neurologist visits, MRI exams and PET scans, administration of infusions, and monitoring for and remedy of potential unwanted side effects, in response to the researchers.

The research assumed Medicare would cowl 80% of the prices, with sufferers left to pay the remaining 20% in full or partly relying on whether or not they have supplemental insurance coverage.

Sufferers might face an annual invoice of about $6,600 per 12 months relying on the state they stay in and whether or not they have supplemental insurance coverage, in response to the research. Some lower-income individuals who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid would pay nothing out of pocket.

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The Alzheimer’s Affiliation, which lobbies on behalf of sufferers residing with the illness, estimates Alzheimer’s and different types of dementia will price the U.S. $345 billion this 12 months. These prices might rise to $1 trillion by 2050, in response to the affiliation.

“That is the case with out remedy. Prevention and remedy is the one path towards lowering this price over time,” Robert Egge, the affiliation’s head of public coverage, stated in an announcement.

“However it’s not price that ought to decide if folks have entry to life enhancing care — it is concerning the impression on folks,” Egge stated. “Therapies taken within the early levels of Alzheimer’s might imply a greater high quality of life.”

Leqembi had a optimistic impact on sufferers with early Alzheimer’s illness in scientific trial outcomes printed within the New England Journal of Medication in January.

The costly remedy just isn’t accessible to the overwhelming majority of sufferers proper now as a result of Medicare has severely restricted protection of the antibody.

Medicare has promised to supply broader protection of Leqembi if the FDA grants full approval of the remedy in July. Leqembi acquired expedited approval from the Meals and Drug Administration in January.

The Alzheimer’s Association, members of Congress and state attorneys general are pushing for Medicare to drop its restrictions and absolutely cowl Leqembi.

The antibody remedy, which targets mind plaque related to the illness, slowed cognitive decline by 27% in Eisai’s scientific trial.

There are at the moment no different medicine in the marketplace which have demonstrated this degree of efficacy at slowing Alzheimer’s illness. Eli Lilly’s donanemab demonstrated promising scientific trial outcomes earlier this month. The corporate plans to use for full FDA approval this quarter.

Leqembi and donanemab each carry severe dangers of mind swelling and bleeding.


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