Health and Human Services Department Secretary Xavier Becerra instructed Medicare's regulator to revisit its recommendations for 2022 Medicare Part B premiums Monday morning, given the recent price drop of controversial Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in November that Part B premiums would increase by 15%, citing potential program cost increases due to Aduhelm. At its original price, experts predicted Aduhelm would cost Medicare $29 billion annually if approved by Medicare.
But Biogen, the maker of Aduhelm, announced last month that it would cut the price of the therapy down from from $56,000 per patient per year to $28,200 in an effort to increase prescriptions of the drug.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm in June, despite questionable evidence that the drug is effective at treating Alzheimer's. Several health systems have declined to prescribe it.
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CMS is set to issue a preliminary decision on whether Medicare will cover the cost of Aduhelm by this Wednesday, and a final decision by April.
"With the 50% price drop of Aduhelm on January 1, there is a compelling basis for CMS to reexamine the previous recommendation," Becerra said in a statement.
Advocates and lawmakers last month called on CMS to reduce premiums, saying there's even less of a justification for the increase after Aduhelm's price drop.