The debate over systemic inequity in Alzheimer’s treatment has been stirred once again by Medicare’s proposal to only cover Aduhelm, Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug, for patients enrolled in clinical trials. Black and Hispanic people face higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease, but are starkly underrepresented in clinical trials causing some to question whether this restriction will add to existing health disparities. However, this sentiment is far from universal amongst interested parties.
According to Nicholas Florko, “But academics STAT spoke to felt that advocacy organizations’ efforts would be better spent addressing more systemic issues, like overcoming the obstacles that keep Black and brown people out of Alzheimer’s clinical trials or from receiving a proper Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Several also vociferously criticized the advocacy organizations’ statements about health equity. “It’s painful that it feels like the strongest advocacy and the most outraged response is to defend a pharmaceutical company,” said Jennifer Manly, a professor of neuropsychology in neurology at Columbia University. “It feels like a betrayal,” she added.”
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(Source: Stat News, January 13th, 2022)