First patient receives controversial new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease

A Rhode Island man on Wednesday received the first dose of a newly approved drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, despite questions about the drug’s cost and effectiveness.

Mark Archambault, 70, became the first person not in a clinical trial to receive a dose of Biogen’s Aduhelm drug. The drug is administered intravenously every month, can cost an average of $56,000 a year and is not yet officially covered by Medicare.

Reuters reports that the dose is administered as part of Butler Hospital’s Memory and Aging program. “We are ushering in a new era in treatment,” said Dr. Stephen Salloway, a professor of neurology at Brown University School of Medicine.

The FDA’s approval of the drug last week sparked outrage, and some doctors have advised the FDA to reject the drug. Three scientists on the panel advising the FDA reportedly resigned after the drug was approved.