In an unexpected move, the Veterans Health Administration decided that it will widely cover a new Alzheimer’s treatment, even as Medicare has decided to wait for additional data about the medicine before taking the same step.
The VA will provide coverage to veterans who meet agency criteria for using the medicine — called Leqembi — as well as stipulations on the product labeling, according to a statement from Eisai, which is partnering with Biogen to market the treatment. About 80% to 90% of veterans who clear these hurdles may be eligible for the treatment, but the exact number is uncertain, according to an Eisai spokesperson.
The decision comes two months after the Food and Drug Administration approved the medicine based on clinical trials showing Leqembi moderately slows cognitive decline in people with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage disease. There are, however, some risks of swelling and bleeding in the brain that require monitoring.
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