"Positive results from an Alzheimer’s trial by Eli Lilly are seen as a very important step in the battle to fight the fatal disease, but questions remain about whether it will be covered by Medicare.
Eli Lilly’s LLY, -0.38% positive Phase 3 trial showed that the drug donanemab “significantly slowed cognitive and functional decline” in patients with early symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, and met its primary and secondary goals.
The Alzheimer’s Association applauded the news, saying the results were the strongest Phase 3 data for an Alzheimer’s treatment to date. More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and the number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Keith Vossel, center director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Care, said the trial was “really groundbreaking to slow the course of the disease progression. We can build on that and develop treatments given in a safer manner. But there are obstacles getting this medication out to the general population.”
Vossel pointed out that in addition to the cost of the treatment itself, which is unknown, there are a lot of ancillary costs related to brain imaging that make it “a sticky problem for how widely this will be available.”
He said it was too early to guess on what decision CMS may make."
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