WASHINGTON (AP) — United States (US) Health Secretary Xavier Becerra on Monday ordered Medicare to reassess a big premium increase facing millions of enrollees this year, attributed in large part to a pricey new Alzheimer’s drug with questionable benefits.
Becerra’s directive came days after drugmaker Biogen slashed the price of its USD56,000-a-year medication, Aduhelm, to USD28,200 a year – a cut of about half.
“With the 50 per cent price drop of Aduhelm on January 1, there is a compelling basis… to reexamine the previous recommendation,” Becerra said in a statement about his directive to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
More than 50 million Medicare recipients who pay the USD170.10 monthly “Part B” premium for outpatient care will see no immediate change to their costs, but Monday’s move could open the way for a reduction later in the year.
The Department of Health and Human Services said it is reaching out to the Social Security Administration, which collects the premium, to examine options.