Press Release

How You Can Help Fight a $1.1 Trillion Disease

PhRMA November 21, 2011

Washington, D.C. (November 21, 2011) — In honor of Alzheimer's disease month, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) produced a compelling video series highlighting the impact this devastating disease has on patients, caregivers and the U.S. health care system.

To help raise awareness of the emotional and financial toll Alzheimer’s has on caregivers, PhRMA will be contributing a dollar -- up to $5,000 -- for every Facebook “like” of our video featuring caretaker, Sabina Shalom, and her husband Mark, to the National Alliance for Caregiving. Also part of the series is a video featuring Dr. Jan Lundberg, executive vice president, Science and Technology, and president, Lilly Research Laboratories, who discusses his personal mission to find an innovative Alzheimer’s treatment – even before losing his mother to the disease.

“This is a call to action to help raise funds and awareness of the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on millions of patients and their caregivers,” said John J. Castellani, president and CEO of PhRMA. “Biopharmaceutical research companies recognize the great need for an innovative treatment to help delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. To help meet this need, they are researching and developing nearly 100 medicines for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”

According to the Alzheimer's Association, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds in 2050, costing the U.S. health care system $1.1 trillion. Between now and 2050, Medicare spending alone will increase nearly 600 percent and caretakers will be further stretched emotionally and financially. But future projections could change course if a treatment were discovered that can help delay the onset of Alzheimer's by 5 years. Under such a scenario, an innovative treatment could help save Medicare and Medicaid $140 billion per year in 2030 and has the potential to save the U.S. health care system $447 billion by 2050.

"Chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's are a top cost driver in the U.S. health care system," said Castellani. "The reality is that future costs associated with this disease will be unsustainable unless new therapies are discovered. The biopharmaceutical industry is working hard to develop these medicines, but for this critical work to continue, policymakers must support policies that foster medical advancements for patients and value innovative engines of growth such as the biopharmaceutical sector."

For more information about how you can help support caregivers, patients and medical innovation, please go to

For broadcast quality video and images, please visit

Find PhRMA Online:

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit:

For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit:

For information on ensuring the flow of medicines during public health emergencies, visit