WASHINGTON — Medicare plans to cover the controversial, pricey Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, but only for certain patients enrolled in clinical trials, the agency announced on Tuesday.
The proposed move would likely mean some patients will not be able to access the Biogen drug, which is the first Alzheimer’s treatment approved in nearly two decades. Since it got the green light this summer, doctors and scientists have raised questions about whether it actually works, government watchdogs have begun investigating whether the Food and Drug Administration followed proper procedure to approve it, and policy experts have questioned whether it is effective enough to justify its hefty price tag.
Medicare officials don’t require participation in clinical studies for beneficiaries very often — there are only about two dozen other health care products with a similar designation, called a Coverage with Evidence Development, listed on Medicare’s website. Most are for medical devices or diagnostic imaging, and are less restrictive than the policy Medicare announced Tuesday.
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