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May 6, 2022

Around the nation: Biogen cuts commercial support for its Alzheimer's drug

Daily Briefing

    Biogen on Tuesday announced its decision to eliminate its "commercial infrastructure" for its Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

    • District of Columbia: The American Hospital Association joined the American Medical Association, AHIP, and several other health care organizations to draft a letter to Congress in support of a permanent extension of tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. In the letter, the signees argue that all Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable coverage through a stable health care market. "Achieving universal coverage is particularly critical as we continue managing the COVID-19 pandemic and work to address long-standing inequities in healthcare access and disparities in health outcomes," the letter states. (Lagasse, Healthcare Finance News, 5/3)
    • Massachusetts: Biogen on Tuesday announced its decision to eliminate its "commercial infrastructure" for Aduhelm—a move that will make many who have Alzheimer's disease less likely to receive the treatment. The company's announcement comes after CMS last month issued a final decision to restrict coverage of the drug to patients enrolled in randomized clinical trials and several insurers have restricted reimbursement. Although the company has decided to cut commercial support, it will maintain the resources necessary to offer the drug to patients who currently receive the treatment at no cost. Ultimately, many doctors who treat Alzheimer's have said that the decision should have minimal impact since so few patients are currently taking the drug. "I feel bad for the patients who had their hopes ginned up by this," said Jason Karlawish, a professor of medicine and co-director of the University of Pennsylvania's memory center. "We're back to where we should be, which is we need to study this drug to establish whether in fact it slows the progression of disease." (Lotus, Wall Street Journal, 5/3)
    • Virginia: University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center on Wednesday named Min Lee as its new COO, effective June 27. Lee, who currently serves as VP of operations for Tower Health's Reading Hospital, will oversee daily operations for the 1,000-bed health system. "Min is a strong, engaged leader with a tremendous background as a healthcare leader," said Wendy Horton, CEO of UVA Medical Center. "Her knowledge and skills make her an ideal fit to serve as the medical center's next chief operations officer, and I'm excited to have her join our team." (Gonzalez, Becker's Hospital Review, 5/4)

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