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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.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.