Sen. Collins, Rep. Eshoo Decry Medicare Coverage Rejection of Alzheimer’s Drugs

“It’s not CMS’ job to deny the use under the Medicare program of an FDA-approved drug.” – Sen. Susan Collins; “…breakthroughs have to reach people, otherwise it really doesn’t mean a darn thing to them.” – Rep. Anna Eshoo

Washington, District of Columbia, UNITED STATES

Washington, D.C., Oct. 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- During UsAgainstAlzheimer’s 2022 National Summit, members of Congress, scientists, and other leaders spoke out against the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to deny Medicare coverage of FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments. This follows September’s release of encouraging clinical trial data showing lecanemab reduced the progression of Alzheimer’s by 27 percent over 18 months, compared to placebo.

In advance of the FDA’s pending decision on whether to grant accelerated approval of lecanemab, leaders called for CMS to cover all FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments and avoid a repeat of its April decision, which left millions of Alzheimer’s patients without any options for slowing the progression of the deadly disease.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) decried CMS’ decision as “outrageous,” and said, “it’s not CMS’ job to deny the use under the Medicare program of an FDA-approved drug.”

Leaders in clinical research, drug manufacturing, and healthcare policy discussed the historic obstacles federal regulators have placed between promising treatments for Alzheimer’s and the Americans who need them, while detailing the steps needed to increase the number of drugs on the market. Many panelists were hopeful that additional treatments would be available for patients in the near future.

Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) spoke about ensuring discoveries from the newly established Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) will reach patients and their families. “Everyday, these families are praying for some kind of breakthrough. I think that they deserve better…those breakthroughs have to reach people, otherwise it really doesn’t mean a darn thing to them,” said Rep. Eshoo.

The calls to action followed the introduction of a bill sponsored by Reps. Vern Buchanan and Nanette Barragán requiring CMS to make coverage decisions based on the merit of individual drugs rather than rejecting an entire class.

The Summit also featured discussions about the latest scientific developments in prevention and early detection—with an added focus on ensuring more equitable access to innovations for everyone, especially women, Latinos and Black Americans, who are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s. To view all the panel sessions from the Summit, click here


About UsAgainstAlzheimer’s

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s exists to conquer Alzheimer’s disease. We take on the toughest problems; bring all of “Us” together to break down barriers; advocate for research that will speed treatments to market; and drive changes that matter most to people living with the disease. We will not rest until brain-span equals lifespan - for everyone.


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