Biogen vs. Alzheimer’s Association: Inside Aduhelm's marketing battle


If a Google user searches "Aduhelm," the first two results they see are ads. One advertises Biogen's landing page for the much-debated Alzheimer's disease treatment, and the other is a call to lower the drug's price from the country's largest Alzheimer’s advocacy group, the Alzheimer’s Association.

Aduhelm has sparked an intense debate in the pharmaceutical and medical communities since it was approved June 7 using the FDA's accelerated approval pathway. Critics say there was not enough evidence of clinical benefits to warrant an approval, and some also attack the drug's annual list price, $56,000 for a 163-pound patient.

In its search engine ad, the Alzheimer’s Association calls the price "inequitable and inhumane for patients" and urges Biogen to "change the price now." When users click on the ad, it takes them to a post on the Alzheimer’s Association website.

"This price is simply unacceptable," the post reads. "For many, this price will pose an insurmountable barrier to access, it complicates and jeopardizes sustainable access to this treatment, and may further deepen issues of health equity."

Biogen continues to build its marketing campaign for Aduhelm, as the drugmaker has been running a paid post on The New York Times' website for the past month. The post doesn't mention Aduhelm by name, but it profiles a couple dealing with mild cognitive impairment. It also directs readers to a Biogen webpage offering visitors an online symptoms quiz and a tool to find a local neurologist to screen them for Alzheimer's disease.

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