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Blog #11 Following the US., Japan Approved “Lecanemab” !!

During my stay in Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare approved the manufacture and sale of the new Alzheimer's drug "Lecanemab" (trade name Leqembi). As I have introduced in my previous blog, "Lecanemab" is a joint development between Eisai of Japan and Biogen of the United States. Clinical trial data showed that it removed the amyloid β accumulated in the brain seen in Alzheimer's disease and slowed the progression of Alzheimer's. Japan is the second country to receive this approval, following the United States.

As I wrote in my blog, this "Lecanemab" is only available to people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer's who have accumulated amyloid β. In order to become a candidate who receive this drug, a proper diagnosis is required. To get diagnosed with MCI or early Alzheimer's, PET scans, lumbar punctures, and MRIs may also be required. Of course, side effects (cerebral edema) have also been reported in people who have received "Lecanemab". Administration is a venous drip once every two weeks. I don't mean to dampen the good news, but there's a good chance that these things could get in the way of successful distribution and accessibility.

Also, knowing that in the United States, the annual price of this drug is $ 26,500 (3.9 million yen), we are even more worried about the cost in Japan. It will be decided by the end of the year how much the government will bear and how much the out-of-pocket burden of those who will be administered. But in any case, there is no doubt that it will be a very expensive drug.

As I have written repeatedly on my blog, it is a new drug that should help many people, so I sincerely hope that in the near future, it will be available equitably not only in the United States and Japan, but also all over the world!

Once the drug price is decided in Japan, I will report it on the blog again.

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