NEWS: Sanders Statement on Medicare Limiting Coverage for Alzheimer’s Drug

WASHINGTON, Jan 11 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Tuesday issued the following statement after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a rule that would cover Aduhelm, the outrageously expensive Alzheimer’s treatment, and similar drugs in development only for people enrolled in qualifying clinical trials:

“Biogen’s outrageous original price for Aduhelm, $56,000 per year, is the poster child for how dysfunctional our drug pricing system has become and it is the perfect example of why Medicare should be negotiating drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. If the administration takes no action, Medicare recipients will continue to see their biggest premium increase in history, all because of Biogen’s greed. That cannot be allowed to happen.

“Beyond the incredibly high price, Aduhelm has not been proven to be effective by the scientific community. It was rejected for coverage by the Veterans Health Administration and at least a half a dozen private health insurance companies in the United States, while 10 out of the 11 experts on the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory council voted against approval of the treatment.

“Today’s action by CMS is an important step forward, especially following Secretary Becerra’s move yesterday to direct Medicare to reconsider a premium rate hike caused in part by the outrageous price of Aduhelm. I urge the administration to immediately lower Medicare premiums by at least $11.50 a month and to provide a refund to 57 million senior citizens for the premium increases that have already gone into effect this month. I would also urge the President to reinstate and expand the reasonable pricing clause that requires drug makers who have benefitted from taxpayer funded research to charge reasonable prices for drugs and treatments. Americans should not have to pay an outrageous price for a drug that their tax dollars helped develop.”

In early December of 2021, Sen. Sanders sent a letter to President Biden urging his administration to delay an increase in Medicare premiums coming in 2022 following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Aduhelm. Sanders first spoke out about Biogen’s outrageous greed when the original $56,000 price tag for the treatment was released in July of last year.