Fiscal board authorization sought to access resources to combat Alzheimer’s
Former Rep. Pedro Julio Santiago Guzmán
By THE STAR STAFF
Former Rep. Pedro Julio “Pelle” Santiago Guzmán asked the Financial Oversight and Management Board on Wednesday to authorize the island government to access resources from the Catastrophic Diseases Trust Fund to pay for a new experimental drug, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s.
“The FDA approval of this experimental drug is great news for the nearly 60,000 patients diagnosed with this disease that affects a person’s cognitive development,” Santiago said. “I call on the financial oversight board to authorize, expeditiously, the use of resources from the Catastrophic Diseases Fund for the government to pay for this treatment for tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans who urgently need it.”
“The annual cost of this drug, Lequembi, amounts to $26,500. That’s a lot for the vast majority of Puerto Ricans,” the former legislator added. “The drug has provided excellent results in fighting dementia in its early stages. The time to act is now, the time to do it -- use of Fund money -- is now. We have an opportunity to save lives and we cannot let it pass.”
In recent days, the FDA approved the use of Lequembi, which has been developed by the Eisai and Biogen companies. According to data from the Alzheimer’s Association, there are at least 60,000 people diagnosed with the disease on the island.
Alzheimer’s, also known as Alzheimer’s Senile Dementia, is a neurodegenerative disease that manifests as cognitive impairment and behavioral disorders.
According to the available literature, the condition is the most common form of dementia.
Dementia is a general term used to describe the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities and is so severe that it interferes with an individual’s daily life. Alzheimer’s currently accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases worldwide.