A new drug could drive up insurance prices and earn billions from Medicare.


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A new Alzheimer’s drug is likely to drive high healthcare costs further in the US, even if it will be a blockbuster for Biogen, its maker.

The drug is expected to become one of the best-selling drugs in the world in just a few years. Billions of dollars in expected costs are likely to be largely borne by Medicare, Rebecca Robbins and Pam Belluck report for the New York Times.

Health policy experts believe that approval of the drug could drive insurance premiums higher. And it could create new out-of-pocket expenses for some families who have faced the enormous cost of caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s for years.

“This is really what keeps me up at night: therapy at this cost is going to have a huge impact on everyone,” said Dr. Joseph Ross, a pharmaceutical policy expert at Yale who sits on a committee that advises Medicare on some insurance decisions. “And by all of them I literally mean you too. There will be some 60 and 70 year olds on your schedule. When you get this treatment, you will see your premiums go up. “

Biogen’s $ 56,000 price tag is higher than many Wall Street analysts expected. The company’s shares rose 38 percent on Monday.

Even if only a small fraction of Alzheimer’s sufferers start taking the drug, it will be hugely lucrative. Cowen analysts said Monday that they expected the drug to reach 8 percent of Americans with mild Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, representing $ 7 billion in sales.



Robert Dunfee