Biogen (NSDQ:BIIB) has announced that it is cutting the wholesale acquisition cost of the controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm (aducanumab) by roughly half.
Starting January 1, 2022, the annual cost for a 100 mg/mL injection of the drug will be $28,200 for a patient who weighs 74 kg (163 pounds).
In related news, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has issued a negative opinion on approving Aduhelm. Biogen is asking for a reexamination of the decision.
BIIB shares fell 1.13% to $234.74 in mid-day trading.
Biogen and its partner Eisai (TYO:4523) have faced a string of setbacks related to the drug after it won FDA approval. As a result, sales of the drug have been weak.
“Over the past several months, we have listened to the feedback of our stakeholders, and we are now taking important actions to improve patient access to ADUHELM,” said Michel Vounatsos, CEO at Biogen, in a statement. “Too many patients are not being offered the choice of ADUHELM due to financial considerations and are thus progressing beyond the point of benefitting from the first treatment to address an underlying pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Aduhelm remains the only amyloid-clearing monoclonal antibody on the U.S. market. Roche and Lilly, however, are vying for accelerated approvals of similar therapies.
Biogen also said it would roll out several cost-reduction measures in 2022. The company said it would release more details concerning those measures in the coming weeks and months.
A group of prominent physicians affiliated with the Right Care Alliance have asked the FDA to rescind its approval of Adhelm as an Alzheimer’s therapy. In a letter, they cited unconvincing clinical data, the controversial use of amyloid plaque reduction as a surrogate for disease progression, the lack of evidence of clinical benefit and risk of potentially severe side effects.
“We are deeply concerned about the broader issues raised by the approval of this drug,” the physicians wrote. “In the absence of clear evidence of meaningful clinical benefit, the continued availability of Aduhelm is likely to lead to widespread overtreatment that will not improve the quality of life of patients, will expose them to unnecessary harms, and will consume extensive resources better spent on supportive services and public health measures to help people with this potentially devastating disease.”
Biogen has defended the drug’s safety and efficacy profile.
Filed Under: Neurological Disease