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DENT Neurologic Institute prepared to move forward with Alzheimer's drug despite controversy

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-17 09:46:54-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — DENT Neurologic Institute is ready to proceed with administering the newly-approved Alzheimer's drug aducanumab, also called Aduhelm, even as hospitals across the country announce they are not going to prescribe the drug due to concerns over its efficacy and questions about the FDA approval process.

Dr. Joseph Fritz, CEO of DENT, says there is evidence that the drug is effective in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's in people who are in the earliest stages of the disease.

"We know the science, we know the risks, we know the benefits," Fritz told 7 Eyewitness News. "This is not some kind of a crazy drug. This is taking care of a key pathological process. The only issue really is, it is too expensive."

Fritz says the primary setback preventing DENT from administering aducanumab is the issue of insurance. Right now, local insurance providers and Medicare have not approved the drug for coverage. Without the payers covering the cost, patients would be on the hook upwards of $56,000 for this infusion therapy.

"Right now we can say we have enough science to say we would like to infuse it, but we won't do that unless payers are ready to make sure that this is financially affordable to our patients," said Fritz.

Still, Fritz is encouraged by the increased attention this drug has brought to early stage Alzheimer's. He hopes more people will discuss their memory concerns with their healthcare providers, as there are various lifestyle interventions to manage the progression of the disease.

The Cleveland Clinic, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and other healthcare institutions across the country have announced they will not administer Aduhelm.