Letter — In response to CMS draft decision

Published 2:58 pm Saturday, January 29, 2022

To the Editor:

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) delivered a draft decision that effectively denies access to all current and future FDA-approved treatments targeting amyloid in those living with Alzheimer’s disease, especially those who are already disproportionately impacted by this fatal disease, including women, Blacks and Hispanics.

With this approach, access to treatment would now only be available to a privileged few, those with access to research institutions, exacerbating and creating further health inequities. In issuing its decision CMS has the audacity to cite the Alzheimer’s Association 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report on the challenges and barriers underrepresented communities have in participating in clinical trials, and then turn around and propose to impose those very barriers.

For decades, millions of Americans and their loved ones have waited for access to a new, more effective treatment as they have faced this relentless disease. They, including my family, deserve the same access to therapies given to those living with other conditions like cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS. For those in the Administration to treat those with Alzheimer’s disease differently than those with other diseases is simply unacceptable.

CMS must change this draft decision. They must ensure equitable access for all who could benefit from FDA-approved treatments. The Alzheimer’s Association calls on CMS to not only listen, but hear the needs of people living with dementia and their caregivers.

Katie McDonough

Director of Programs & Services,

Alzheimer’s Association