Dubai: The UAE has approved the first and only drug for the treatment of early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, becoming the second country in the world to use Aduhelm (aducanumab).
Biogen’s drug has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) on Sunday.
This step allows patients with Alzheimer’s disease in the UAE and regional countries to have early access to the innovative drug, resulting in the acceleration of their treatment plan and improvement of the quality of their life, MoHAP added.
Aduhelm is supplied as injections containing a dose of 100mlg. The drug is prescribed to patients with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (mild cognitive impairment and mild dementia) by reducing amyloid beta plaques in the brain.
Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said the UAE is among the world’s fastest countries in terms of granting approvals for innovative drugs, which increases the healing chances of patients in the UAE and the region.
This also contributes to strengthening the country’s competitiveness in the global pharmaceutical market to become a major destination for global pharmaceutical companies and a hub for marketing their innovative drugs, he added.
Dr Mohammed Al Olama, undersecretary of MoHAP, and chairman of the board of directors of Emirates Health Service (EHS), affirmed the ministry’s commitment to providing therapeutic and psychological services to people with Alzheimer’s disease, especially for the elderly over 65 years old, as they are the high-risk groups.
These services include specialised clinics, providing a supportive and stimulating environment for patients, and community rehabilitation, he said.
MoHAP has an advanced mechanism in licensing and registering medicines in accordance with the best international standards and requirements in pharmacological evaluation, said Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Health Regulatory Sector, MoHAP.
He added the ministry is proactively working to communicate with international companies for medicine and medical supplies to learn about the latest medical innovations, even if they are under clinical studies, to bring them to the UAE and become the first country in the world to make the most of the breakthroughs, after being accredited by FDA.
‘Glimmer of hope’
Rachid Izzar, Executive Vice President, Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Impairment Business Unit, said: “Biogen’s tireless research efforts and dedication to achieving its goals have enabled us to fulfil our commitment to provide the first treatment of its kind in many years to Alzheimer’s patients. We believe that this drug will give patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, their families, and healthcare providers a new glimmer of hope, especially as they have been waiting for scientific progress in this regard for decades.”