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Alliance Statement on CMS’ ‘Plan to Ensure Availability of New Alzheimer’s Drugs’

Published June 1, 2023

Graphic of blue puzzle pieces creating a human head, but with a few missing symbolizing Alzheimer's.

This morning, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced via a press release what they describe as a “plan to ensure availability of new Alzheimer’s drugs.” Sue Peschin, MHS, President & CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research, released the following statement in response:

There’s no news here. Nothing has changed. Today’s announcement is simply a restatement of the final coverage determination CMS made almost 14 months ago.

While CMS’s press release promises “broader coverage,” the truth is that it will take months, if not years, for Medicare beneficiaries to access these medicines. Registries take an average of 18 months or more to put together, and the CMS guidelines will almost inevitably make it difficult for the vast majority of patients – especially those from communities of color and in rural areas – to access new medicines that delay the progression of this awful disease.

“Coverage with evidence development” is being used by CMS as a utilization management strategy. There’s no other purpose to it. CMS is rationing medicines, and every day, nearly 2,000 Medicare beneficiaries with early Alzheimer’s lose the ability to benefit from novel, FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments.

Today’s press release was a thinly veiled effort to alleviate mounting political pressure from policymakers across the nation. Don’t be fooled.

Until CMS drops all mandatory registry and clinical study requirements for Alzheimer’s drugs, Medicare will continue to ration care for Alzheimer’s patients.

Read more about the Alliance’s work to dismantle barriers to Medicare beneficiary access to Alzheimer’s treatments, including recent bipartisan polling results indicating that the majority of voters from both sides of the aisle wanting Congress and even the President to step in.

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