FDA approves much-debated Alzheimer’s drug panned by experts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government health officials have approved the first drug that they say may help slow Alzheimer’s disease. The decision Monday came after the agency’s independent advisers said the treatment hadn’t been shown to help slow the brain-destroying disease. The Food and Drug Administration is not required to follow the panel’s advice and approved the infused drug from Biogen. It’s the first new Alzheimer’s treatment in nearly 20 years and the only one that FDA has backed to treat the underlying disease, rather than manage symptoms. One physician who voted against the drug says he is surprised and disappointed by the approval. Biogen said the drug would cost approximately $56,000 for a typical year’s worth of treatment.