• Mary Sizemore

Disappointing news for those Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease

Adulhelm, a drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease with mild cognitive impairment was approved in June 2021 by the Federal Drug Administration. At the time of approval, the FDA was under intense scrutiny for their decision based on the serious side effects and two identical clinical trials. The clinical trials in 2019 stated the drug did not seem to be helping with cognitive decline. However, after careful consideration, the FDA approved the drug under their accelerated-approval process. This allows the drug to be administered even though there may not be significant proof that the drug will work because there are so few treatment options available for Alzheimer’s disease. The approval of Adulhelm is NOT a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid on Jan. 11 gave their preliminary decision that states that the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, will be covered only for patients participating in approved clinical trials. The CMS is taking this cautious approach due to potential side effects of the drug that range from headaches, dizziness, and falls, to other potentially serious complications such as brain bleeds. They feel that the drug should be administered through a clinical trial and closely monitored and documented. However, not everyone has access to a clinical trial in their hometown – thus, the drug will not be available to everyone that meets the guidelines, leaving many families very frustrated. The cost to administer treatment with Adulhelm is $56,000/year.

There are currently over 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease. 11 million Americans provide unpaid care to those people with Alzheimer’s Disease. The burdens on these individuals, caregivers, the government and the nation are immense and will continue to grow.

The Alzheimer’s Association is currently asking CMS to revisit their decision on the drug Aduhelm and we await their final decision in April. Regardless, of the decision, it’s important that we – as long-term care insurance specialists continue to encourage our clients to be prepared for a long-term care crisis. Planning is essential to protect their families from being unpaid caregivers and to secure their assets in retirement.

For more information about the long-term care insurance policies available in your area, please call one of our marketing specialists at 1-800-945-1953

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