Leqembi's rollout becomes a crawl

About nine months after the FDA fully approved an Alzheimer's drug for the first time, the medicine is trudging through insurance barriers and hesitations from potential patients, the Chicago Tribune reported April 12. 

Health systems have also taken months to begin using Leqembi (lecanemab). The medication's sales are stalling, and the slow uptake can be attributed to some payers not covering the therapy that costs $26,000 for a year's supply. 

One of its manufacturers, Eisai, predicted 10,000 patients would begin treatment by the end of March. Eisai executives have since backed away from that forecast, but they say sales are increasing, according to the Tribune

CMS covers Leqembi, and so do about 75% of commercial plans in the U.S., a spokesperson for the drugmaker said. But, for the upwards of 6 million Americans who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the medication has not made a splash as patients worry about side effects and contraindications.

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