Another expert told Reuters he had never heard of a pharmaceutical company that would have given an infused drug like Aduhelm, even though pharmaceutical companies often have patient assistance programs.
did not respond immediately to a comment request from Barronin According to a Reuters report. Biogen told Reuters it intended to support patient access, but did not provide details.
Shares of Biogen (ticker: BIIB) rose 0.2% on Monday. The share has risen 40.2% this year.
Analysts disagree on how Aduhelm use is growing, although Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond has sharply lowered his estimates of short-term sales of the drug based on a survey of neurologists treating Alzheimer’s.
A study, Raymond wrote last week, showed that “the almost constant stream of negative Aduhelm headlines has affected emotions and near-term expectations” in terms of usage.
However, other analysts have written that Medicare seems to replace Aduhelm. In a note sent Thursday, Morgan Stanley analyst Matthew Harrison mentioned a different study that showed, among other things, that some Medicare administrative subcontractors are already replacing the drug.
“Eight of 78 neurologists have already prescribed the commercial Aduhelm,” Harrison wrote. “Of the 30 patients who received Aduhelm, 18 patients received the first dose and 6 patients received reimbursement from the local Medicare administration.”
In July, a month after the drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Medicare and Medicaid Services centers overseeing the Medicare program began a rare process to define a national policy to cover Aduhelm. The Agency then expected to take a final decision within nine months.
Aduhelm’s approval was controversial from the start, triggering a wave of resignations from the FDA and public criticism from the medical community. The approval has focused on physicians ’concerns about how the FDA weighs access and drug effectiveness.
The aftermath of the Aduhelm decision was so great that the FDA commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock, asked the Chief Inspector of Health and Human Resources to investigate the interactions between Biogen and the agency during the approval process.
Biogen shares rose 38.3% on June 7, the day the FDA gave its approval, but have fallen 13.3% since then.
Corrections and confirmations: Biogen’s program to distribute the free Aduhelm is linked to Medicare’s reimbursement delays, Reuters reports. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that distribution was also related to drug efficacy.
Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at [email protected]