Is FDA’s Approval of a New Alzheimer’s Drug a Good Thing?

by Jan Frazier

Washington, D.C. (Washington Insider Magazine)  –  Aduhelm is an expensive new drug being examined for case studies on slowing the disease of Alzheimer’s A 38-year-old physician at John Hopkins University, Mariah Robertson, had a mother, Nancy Dreisinger, who had the disease.

Dreisinger, who worked at a local bank and was a senior officer, started showing up late for meetings as well as forgetting details on projects. Later, Dreisinger started to lose her motor skills.

Later, Robertson started juggling her college studies – public health – and helped to care for her mother.

Dreisinger died in 2012, and Robertson enrolled in medical school. Robertson wanted to learn more about Alzheimer’s and how to care for the patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave clearance to a new Biogen drug called Aduhelm. This new drug is supposed to “slow the underlying biological process of Alzheimer’s rather than simply mitigate symptoms.”

It is not believed to be a cure, but the FDA hopes that it can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Perhaps it is “the first in a series of new treatments that will turn Alzheimer’s into a manageable chronic condition.”

Robertson sees things much different from the FDA. She believes that the claims on the drug are not true. In addition, the drug will cost $56,000 for a year’s worth of treatments.

For one thing, Robertson believes that some cases of Alzheimer’s have a genetic component, such as her mother’s case. Robertson has thought of the fact that she might contract Alzheimer’s at some point in life. She definitely would want medicine that would slow the progression of the disease. However, she doesn’t believe that this is the right drug.

Robertson is not the only physician with these feelings. Scientists across America have felt dismay about FDA’s decision, “including the agency’s willingness to ignore the advice of an outside advisory committee that voted almost unanimously against approval.”

Since the FDA’s approval, there have been three members of the committee who have resigned. Harvard Medical School Professor, Aaron Kesselheim, called FDA’s decision “probably the worst drug approval…in recent U.S. history.”

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