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Jerry Gurwitz to lead research evaluating Alzheimer’s disease treatments

By Sarah Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

October 16, 2019
Jerry Gurwitz, MD

UMass Medical School received a $365,000 grant to collaborate with the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review to examine the clinical and economic value of future therapies to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Jerry Gurwitz, MD, the Dr. John Meyers Professor of Primary Care Medicine, professor of medicine, chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and executive director of the Meyers Primary Care Institute, will lead the research.

“As the National Institutes of Health aggressively pursues its plan to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, there is great hope about the potential for new innovative therapies to bring unprecedented advances to the care of these patients. However, there is also great fear that these forthcoming treatments will be priced beyond the reach of both patients and payers,” said Dr. Gurwitz.

Steven D. Pearson, MD, MSc, president of ICER said, “There are more than 100 agents for Alzheimer’s with various mechanisms of action in the treatment pipeline, and stakeholders across the health care system will need to be prepared to evaluate the clinical and economic value, as well as potential budgetary implications, of each of these treatments at the time of regulatory approval.”

“We are eager to collaborate with UMMS in this effort that will help us make sure that our methods for evaluating new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease fully capture the benefits to patients and their caregivers. Equally, we need to encourage all stakeholders to think ahead about how the pricing and delivery of new treatments can be made affordable for families and the overall health system,” Dr. Pearson added.

UMMS and ICER will use this grant to:

  1. Conduct empirical analyses of the impact of different methods on value-based pricing for highly effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease; and
  2. Establish best practices for determining a fair price for highly effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

Throughout the assessment, UMMS and ICER will solicit feedback from clinical experts, health technology assessment groups, pharmaceutical manufacturers, patient advocacy groups and caregivers to develop a holistic approach for how to value future treatments that will prevent or effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease. These expert opinions, along with ICER’s current work on Valuing a Cure, will shape this analysis.

UMMS received the grant from the National Institutes on Aging under the Advancing Geriatrics Infrastructure and Network Growth Initiative, a joint endeavor of the Health Care Systems Research Network and the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers.