Sep 23, 2021 - Health

Outpatient infusion centers offering Aduhelm

An infusion center with chairs, IVs, and curtains.

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Some hospitals are refusing to administer Biogen's new Alzheimer's drug, Aduhelm, but many freestanding infusion centers are offering it despite concerns about the drug's safety and lack of effectiveness.

Yes, but: Hardly any patients are receiving the drug, even with infusion centers eagerly advertising it. Just over 100 patients have actually gotten Aduhelm so far, way below Biogen's already-tempered forecasts, STAT reported.

What we're seeing: Infusion centers that are not owned by hospitals are attracting prospective Aduhelm patients, some offering goodies.

  • IVX Health, which just got $100 million from a private equity firm and operates 50 outpatient centers in affluent suburbs, says people who take Aduhelm can enjoy "big-screen TVs, high-speed WiFi, [and] free snacks."
  • Memory Treatment Centers in Florida and FlexCare Infusion Centers in Oklahoma advertised how Aduhelm patients can get private suites, heated massage chairs, free food and Netflix.
  • The head neurologist of Memory Treatment Centers boasted that "there is real light and hope now on the horizon" with Aduhelm, without acknowledging the drug's side effects and lack of proof it works. The company did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails.
  • Infusion Associates in Michigan said it started treating its first Aduhelm patients last month.

What they're saying: "We're going to rely on the FDA and the processes they have to approve medications, and then rely on the clinical expertise of the referring physician," IVX Health CEO Doug Ghertner said in an interview after being asked whether the company weighed Aduhelm's unproven clinical benefits.

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