Aduhelm could soon represent 1% of all US healthcare spending

Biogen's Alzeheimer's drug Aduhelm could single-handedly represent 1 percent of all national healthcare expenditures by the mid-2020's, according to a report released June 16 by research nonprofit Altarum.

The FDA approved Aduhelm June 7, the first approval the agency has granted to an Alzheimer's treatment since 2003. It is the first treatment approved by the FDA intended to slow cognitive decline from Alzheimer's, as the Alzheimer's drugs the FDA has previously cleared are aimed at alleviating symptoms rather than slowing the disease's progression.

Altarum used CMS data to estimate expenditures on Aduhelm, considering only spending on the drug itself and excluding additional expenditures for facility costs, Medicare payments to prescribing physicians, and testing for eligibility and side effects. 

The report found that if Aduhelm uptake reaches 1 million Americans, spending on the drug could increase non-retail drug spending by more than 25 percent and total prescription drug spending by more than 8 percent by the mid-2020's. 

If 2 million Americans are prescribed the drug (toward the higher end of Biogen's target population estimate), Aduhelm spending would represent 2.5 percent of national healthcare expenditures by the mid-2020's, and non-retail drug spending would increase by more than 50 percent.

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