FDA official behind Alzheimer’s drug scandal steps down

Investigations alleged Billy Dunn had inappropriately close relationship with drug maker.

ARS TECHNICA – The Food and Drug Administration official who allegedly had an inappropriately cozy relationship with the maker of the controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm is stepping down from his role, effective immediately, according to numerous media reports.

Billy Dunn, head of the FDA’s neuroscience office, has been with the agency for around 18 years, during which he was involved in several high-profile drug approvals.

But he gained notoriety in the wake of the shocking 2021 approval of Aduhelm, a drug that has not been shown to be effective against Alzheimer’s and carries risks of serious brain swelling.

“After a long and highly productive career in public service, Billy has decided to retire from FDA and explore other opportunities while continuing his focus on improving the lives of patients with neurological diseases.” – FDA press release 

In 2020, the FDA’s independent advisory committee voted nearly unanimously that the agency should not approve the drug (11 of 12 committee members voted against, with one voting “uncertain”).

Yet, the approval went through anyway, and Aduhelm’s maker, Biogen, went on to set the exorbitant price of $56,000 for a year’s worth of treatment.

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Outside researchers called the approval “disgraceful,” three advisory members resigned in protest, and Medicare Part B premiums rose by record amounts to accommodate covering the pricey drug for Alzheimer’s patients desperate for new treatments.

“The departure comes as the FDA is working to recover from various scandals and missteps, including the dire national formula shortage and bungled oversight of vaping products.”

Subsequent media and congressional investigations alleged that Dunn had an off-the-books meeting with Biogen’s head scientist two years prior …



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