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Your Healthy Family: Price of new Alzheimer's drug will make it out of reach

Posted at 6:16 AM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 07:13:14-05

If you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease, you know how painful it can be. There’s no cure for Alzheimer's. And while a new treatment is giving some hope, the price will keep it out of reach for a lot of people.

John Allen is writing a book to his life experiences. He said he got the idea after he was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, or MCI.

“But I also wanted my grandsons and my daughters to see that maybe their dad can do something for himself," Allen said.

MCI can often develop into Alzheimer’s Disease.

“You just have to recognize that there’s one aspect of your life that you can’t control," he said.

An estimated 6.5 million Americans over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer's Association said a new drug is giving them hope.

“The approval of Lecanemab is a real gamechanger in treating Alzheimer's Disease.” Amy French, the Senior Manager of Programs and Education for the Alzheimer's Association in Tennessee, said.

It’s a monoclonal antibody treatment that just got accelerated approval from the FDA. It slows the progression of Alzheimer’s, but comes at a hefty price.

"Most people cannot afford a 26-thousand-500 price tag for medication," French said. “And the fact that it is not currently paid for by Medicare and other insurances is huge."

That’s why the Alzheimer’s Association filed a motion for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reconsider that decision.

“Right now, it’s a privilege. It’s not a common drug," Allen said.

Until it is, Allen said he’ll continue to be a voice for people with the disease. And he hopes his story can help others.

"But it’s not the end. If anything, it’s adding a new way that you can do something for yourself," Allen said.

The monoclonal antibody treatment is taken in the form of an IV every two weeks.