Preparing the health‐care system to pay for new Alzheimer's drugs

Date: August 18, 2020
Journal: Alzheimer's & Dementia
Citation: Lin, PJ, Cohen, JT, Neumann, PJ. Preparing the health‐care system to pay for new Alzheimer's drugs. Alzheimer's Dement. 2020; 1– 3.


Biogen's announcement last fall that it will seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for its Alzheimer's disease (AD) treatment, aducanumab, 7 months after the drug was declared a failure, buoyed patients and families, but put health payers and policymakers on alert. Whether aducanumab succeeds, other disease‐modifying therapies for AD will follow, and the health‐care system is unprepared for the reimbursement and access challenges. Novel AD therapies are much needed, but we cannot assume substantial cost offsets. With forethought and preparation, however, the health‐care system can accommodate new AD drugs. First, we urge the use of cost‐effectiveness of new Alzheimer's treatments as a starting point for setting value‐based prices. Second, payments for new AD therapies should ideally incorporate a performance warranty, which helps apportion risk associated with initial therapy value estimates between drug manufacturers and payers. Third, we urge consideration of “subscription” payment agreements to address system affordability issues.

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