LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: We need access to Alzheimer’s treatments

Published 4:40 pm Thursday, February 2, 2023

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After losing my grandmother, Leola Furr, to dementia, I know what more time and more memories would have meant for me and my family. Through my work as a volunteer firefighter, I have seen far too many families struggling with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. There needs to be more hope for the people in our community.

In January the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lecanemab, now known as leqembi, using the accelerated approval pathway. After strong clinical trials, leading Alzheimer’s researchers agree this treatment changes the course of the disease in a meaningful way for people with early Alzheimer’s.

But because of the decision the Center for Medical & Medicare Services has put in place, Medicare will not cover this treatment. Never before has CMS imposed such drastic barriers to access FDA-approved drugs, especially for people facing a fatal disease. CMS’s policy is unjustified, harmful and unfair.

Just as is true for individuals with every other disease today, people who are living with Alzheimer’s and their doctors should be able to decide if an FDA-approved treatment is right for them and should be covered by Medicare.

I have asked my member of Congress, Rep. Dan Bishop, to send a letter to the CMS supporting full access to FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments. Please join me in urging Rep. Dan Bishop to demand CMS take action to ensure individuals living with Alzheimer’s have equitable access to FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments.

To learn more about how you can join the fight to end Alzheimer’s, visit alzimpact.org.

Jacob Vernon Furr