WASHINGTON — Division of Well being and Human Providers Secretary Xavier Becerra on Monday took the extremely uncommon step of ordering Medicare to rethink a historic hike in premiums after Biogen slashed the worth for its controversial Alzheimer’s drug in half.
“With the 50% worth drop of Aduhelm on January 1, there’s a compelling foundation for CMS to reexamine the earlier suggestion,” Becerra stated in a written assertion.
Medicare in November announced this system’s largest-ever premium enhance for 2021, citing a uncertainty round the price of Aduhelm, a brand new remedy for Alzheimer’s that has stoked controversy due to its questionable medical profit, excessive worth, and probably critical unintended effects.
Biogen cut the price of Aduhelm from $56,000 per 12 months to $28,200 in December after dismal uptake of the drug. Quite a few outstanding educational medical facilities have refused to administer the drug.
Democrats in Congress have pressed Becerra to stress Medicare to rethink its premium choice because the midterm elections loom later this 12 months and President Biden’s huge home spending package deal that might decrease some well being care prices has stalled.
“Medicare beneficiaries can’t afford to be saddled with a report enhance in month-to-month premium prices — particularly when these premium prices are being pushed up by unsure expectations of sky excessive Medicare prices for an outrageously costly drug like Aduhelm that has introduced restricted medical proof of its effectiveness,” Wyden wrote to Becerra on Dec. 13.
Medicare is scheduled to launch a draft protection choice that might make or break the drug’s future by Wednesday. Officers are usually not supposed to think about a drug’s price in deciding whether or not to cowl it for Medicare beneficiaries.