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February 29, 2024
Aduhelm and Medicare in 2024

Aduhelm and Medicare in 2024

Since 2021, Aduhelm has been a huge topic of discussion in the Alzheimer's community. From its initial $56,000 price tag to it now being taken off the market, here's a quick look at Aduhelm in 2024.

Please note: This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for personalized medical advice.

What is Aduhelm/aducanumab?

Aduhelm (the name brand for aducanumab), was an innovate medicine given intravenously to help treat and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Aduhelm was the first drug of its kind.

It worked by attacking beta-amyloid plaques, which are clumps of a toxic protein believed to destroy neurons in the brain. Many in the field believe the beta-amyloid plaques are what cause Alzheimer’s disease, so the hope was that Aduhelm could slow down or delay the onset of cognitive decline.

It's important to note that Aduhelm was never a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and it did not reverse the progression of the disease. It was designed to slow progression in those with mild or medium plaque buildup.  

Aduhelm's Demise

On January 31, 2024, Biogen announced it would be pulling Aduhelm off the market. The sales were lackluster and there was a lot of public criticism over the sketchy FDA approval process and its price.

When Aduhelm first came out, it cost $56,000 per year. This launch onto the market even spiked Medicare Part B premiums as the government program prepared for massive drug claims under Medicare Part B.

After some time, Biogen cut the cost in half to $28,200 per year, which included 12 IV treatments over the course of one 12-month period. While you'd think Biogen would be raking in the cash at prices like that, Medicare turned out to be a huge hiccup.

Medicare's Limited Aduhelm Coverage

The Medicare program chose to only cover Aduhelm for those enrolled in a qualifying clinical trial. The announcement stated that, while FDA approval had been given, too many questions still existed about the efficacy of the high-cost treatment.

In the end, Biogen has decided to "'reprioritize' its resources toward its other, less contentious Alzheimer’s treatments, such as Leqembi" (Gizmodo).

What's Next for Alzheimer's Treatment?

While Aduhelm has come and gone, progress towards new Alzheimer's treatments hasn't stopped.

Biogen is now working on its "second-generation" anti-amyloid drug called Leqembi. Its Phase III trials seem more promising than Aduhelm, which is certainly a sign of hope for those dealing with this disease.

In addition, the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute recently found that opening up the blood-brain barrier via a focused ultrasound helped antibody treatments reach the brain much more efficiently.

“After six months of antibody treatment, we observed an average of 32 percent more reduction in amyloid-beta plaques (53 percent centiloid) in brain areas with blood-brain barrier opening compared to areas with no such opening,” Ali Rezai, M.D., lead author of the study and executive chair of the RNI, said.

The bottom line? There could very well be a huge breakthrough in the Alzheimer's space very soon.


Alzheimer’s disease is a serious health concern for many Americans. While Aduhelm has come and gone, there is still progress being made.

If you have any questions about Alzheimer’s or any other cognitive concern, we recommend you speak with your primary care physician. If you would like to learn more about Alzheimer’s, please visit  

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Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday is a Customer Success Rep here at Senior Allies. Luke has been helping Medicare-eligible clients with their insurance and retirement-planning needs since 2011. Luke is passionate about 3 things, and 3 things only: senior insurance, football, and food!

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