|WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs, in response to the Alzheimer’s Association’s recent statement reacting to Biogen’s price of $56,000 for Aduhelm, a new drug aimed at targeting the disease process of Alzheimer’s instead of just treating symptoms:
“As patients who are fighting every day for lower drug prices to manage our acute and chronic conditions and seeking affordable new treatments where there is unmet need, we stand with the Alzheimer’s Association in its denunciation of the price set by Biogen for the drug Aduhelm. The Association’s statement calling on Biogen to lower the price, which it characterized as ‘simply unacceptable’ and ‘an insurmountable barrier to access,’ was nothing short of courageous, especially in light of the Alzheimer’s Association’s reliance on funding from drug corporations, including Biogen.
“We are proud to lend our support to the Alzheimer’s Association’s push for a lower price. But we cannot rely on drug corporations to do the right thing and make prices affordable voluntarily; we need to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for Americans and bring relief to millions who are demanding help now.”
- Last week, the FDA approved Aduhelm to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease; shortly after, Biogen announced a price of $56,000 a year. Patients For Affordable Drugs responded with this statement.
- Last fall, an FDA advisory committee declined to endorse the drug’s approval, citing insufficient clinical evidence of patient benefit.
- In May, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) estimated that the annual price of Aduhelm should be between $2,500 and $8,300.
- In 2019, U.S. spending on prescription drugs was $510 billion.
- More than 6 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease and could become eligible for Aduhelm; most of these patients are enrolled in Medicare.
- At a price of $56,000, treatment for one-third of Alzheimer’s patients, about 2 million people, would amount to $112 billion — approximately 22 percent of U.S. spending on prescription drugs in 2019.
- With Medicare negotiation, patients will pay less for their prescriptions and lives will be saved.
- Right now, more than 1.1 million Medicare patients could die over the next decade because they cannot afford to pay for their prescriptions.
- If Medicare were empowered to directly negotiate prices with drug companies, there could be 94,000 fewer deaths annually.
- Medicare negotiation is overwhelmingly popular — Americans want reform.
- Nine out of 10 Americans back Medicare negotiation, including 97 percent of Democrats, 87 percent of independents, and 84 percent of Republicans.
- Lowering the cost of prescription drugs and health care far outpollseven infrastructure investments as a priority for Americans.
- Nearly 90 percent of small business owners say that drug costs are too high. Medicare negotiation would save employers $195 billion and employees $61 billion from 2023 to 2029.