Insurer teams applauded the Biden administration’s choice to narrowly cowl Alzheimer’s illness drug Aduhelm, because the business has had issues over the effectiveness of the controversial remedy.
The Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies (CMS) introduced Tuesday a proposal that Medicare will cowl Aduhelm however just for sufferers in qualifying scientific trials. A number of insurance coverage business teams applauded the measure after some main insurers have proven reticence in overlaying the expensive remedy.
“We agree with CMS that there’s a must acquire extra scientific knowledge on efficacy, which will likely be important to making sure these new medicines ship actual worth to sufferers earlier than broadening entry,” mentioned Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Well being Insurance coverage Plans, the highest insurance coverage lobbying group.
The Blue Cross Blue Defend Affiliation additionally lauded the choice.
“Gathering and analyzing extra knowledge on Aduhelm will present much-needed insights into the drug’s security and effectiveness,” mentioned Adam Myers, M.D., senior vp and chief scientific transformation officer for the affiliation.
The Meals and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval in June 2021 to Biogen’s Aduhelm to focus on beta amyloid plaques within the mind, regardless of objections from company advisers over its effectiveness. However there was a significant blowback from insurers over whether or not to cowl the drug, particularly after Biogen determined to cost it at $56,000 for a course of remedy.
One skilled says Medicare’s reluctance to completely cowl Aduhelm might not have lasting ramifications on the insurance coverage business as payers are already skeptical of the drug.
“Insurers comply with CMS for pointers on what to cowl, and the fame of this drug is all the pieces however constructive, with near zero confirmed scientific profit. My guess is that this may don’t have any influence on insurer protection,” mentioned Michael Abrams, managing accomplice of world healthcare marketing consultant agency Numerof & Associates, in a press release to Fierce Healthcare.
A survey carried out by Bloomberg Information of greater than two dozen main well being insurers discovered they didn’t imagine that the drug was medically obligatory. Insurers reminiscent of Excellus BlueCross Blue Defend gained’t cowl the drug, and Highmark solely will cowl it with prior authorization.
Main hospital methods like Cleveland Clinic and Mount Sinai introduced final summer season they don’t seem to be going to prescribe Aduhelm.
Biogen determined again in December to halve the value of Aduhelm after the backlash. The choice prompted Division of Well being and Human Companies Secretary Xavier Becerra to ask CMS to reevaluate a 15% spike in premiums for Half B prompted in anticipation of Medicare’s protection choice.
The drugmaker slammed CMS’ proposal to solely cowl the drug for sufferers in a qualifying scientific trial, saying it’s going to “considerably restrict affected person entry to an FDA-approved remedy.”
The company is holding a 30-day remark interval on the proposed nationwide protection with proof willpower. CMS will problem a ultimate willpower in April.