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Since the controversial approval of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, both the Food and Drug Administration and the drug’s maker, Biogen, have made an interesting argument: that approving the medicine will speed the development of other Alzheimer’s treatments, whatever one thinks of this medicine’s efficacy.

“If we look at the past experience, progress has to be made with the first step, and we can look at HIV, oncology, or [multiple sclerosis],” Biogen’s CEO, Michel Vounatsos, said on the company’s earnings call last week. His remarks echoed those of Patrizia Cavazzoni, who heads the FDA center that regulates new medicines.

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