CHICAGO, February 22, 2023 — The Alzheimer’s Association is appalled that the Biden Administration is extending its unjust decision to deny access to FDA-approved treatments for people living with Alzheimer’s — a fatal disease. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has denied the Alzheimer’s Association’s request to change its policy, despite significant new evidence published since the release of its decision. CMS covers all FDA-approved drugs except for monoclonal antibodies directed against amyloid for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite unequivocal evidence confirmed by the scientific community, CMS continues to state it is not reasonable and necessary for people living with Alzheimer’s to have access to an FDA-approved treatment without barriers.
“CMS’ role is to provide health care coverage. Their role is not to stand between a patient and a doctor when deciding what FDA-approved treatments are appropriate. Their role is not to single out people living with Alzheimer’s and decide that their lives, their independence and their memories are not necessary,” said Joanne Pike, DrPH, Alzheimer’s Association president and CEO.
Bipartisan Congressional leaders have also spoken out in support of CMS changing its policy. This month, Reps. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) led 72 of their bipartisan colleagues in sending a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure emphasizing the importance of access to FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) also led a bipartisan letter in the Senate, signed by 20 bipartisan leaders.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that each day CMS leaves this misguided policy in place, more than 2,000 individuals aged 65 or older may transition from mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s to a more advanced stage of the disease where they are no longer eligible for the new FDA-approved treatments. Treatments taken in the early stages of Alzheimer’s would allow people more time to participate in daily life, remain independent and make health care decisions for their future.
“Each day matters to someone living with early stage Alzheimer's disease when it comes to slowing the progression of this disease,” said Pike. “CMS’s policy to block access to these treatments eliminates people’s options, resulting in continued irreversible disease progression and contributes to greater health inequities.”
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Visit alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.
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