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First Patient Set To Receive Biogen's Alzheimer's Drug: Reuters

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  • A U.S. hospital on Wednesday will give the first infusion of Biogen Inc's (NASDAQ: BIIB) expensive, controversial Alzheimer's drug approved a week ago.

  • Medicare had even said what it would pay for the treatment, but some doctors were upset by its approval last week.

  • The first administration of Aduhelm (aducanumab), outside of a clinical trial, will happen in Providence, Rhode Island, at Butler Hospital's Memory and Aging Program, Reuters reported.

  • "We are opening a new era in treatment," Brown University Medical School neurology professor Dr. Stephen Salloway told Reuters. He said the Butler Hospital program has around 100 patients likely to be good candidates for the drug, given as a monthly intravenous infusion.

  • Biogen has estimated that around 1.5 million of the 6 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer's would be considered to have early-stage disease.

  • Biogen has set an average price of ,000 a year, which the Alzheimer's Association called "simply unacceptable."

  • After discounts, Biogen's net price for Aduhelm is likely to be around $30,000 per year, Oppenheimer analyst Jay Olson said in a research note.

  • In addition to those costs, patients must have tests to diagnose Alzheimer's, which is not covered by Medicare, or tests using spinal fluid.

  • Still, given that this is the first approved drug that might slow the lethal, memory-robbing condition, hospitals are gearing up. "All the major centers that have an interest in Alzheimer's disease are taking this seriously," Salloway said.

  • Price Action: BIIB shares are down 0.12% 395.59 during the market trading session on the last check Wednesday.

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