Press Release

30+ New Medicines in Development for Parkinson's Disease

PhRMA April 26, 2013

Washington, D.C. (November 7, 2011) —  America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing 36 medicines to help the nearly one million American’s suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a motor system disorder, resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Signs of the disease can vary widely from person to person.  The most common physical symptoms include tremor, or shakiness or trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; rigidity of the muscles; slowness of movement or difficulty starting to move; and problems with balance and coordination. 


Each year, approximately 60,000 American’s are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and the incidence increases with age. Forty percent of those with Parkinson’s disease are under the age of 60, placing them squarely in the workforce. Experts say that about one-third of employed individuals will lose their jobs within a year of a Parkinson’s diagnosis, making lost productivity a major factor in the societal impact of the disease. The combined cost to the U.S. economy in direct and indirect costs is nearly $25 billion a year, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.


The medicines today in the research and development pipeline offer hope of reducing the human and economic costs of Parkinson’s disease.  They include:


  • Gene therapies that target specific areas in the brain
  • Cell therapy that uses a patient’s own cells to reverse effects of the disease
  • New delivery mechanisms of currently approved treatments, including a transdermal patch and an intranasal formulation
  • Medicines to treat a motor function disorder associated with Parkinson’s disease treatment

“These new medicines now being developed to fight Parkinson’s disease are the very essence of what America’s biopharmaceutical research companies do every day,” said PhRMA President & CEO John J. Castellani.  “Using cutting-edge science, biopharmaceutical research companies are developing innovative healthcare solutions that help patients live healthier, better lives. These medicines represent more than hope, they are tangible proof of the progress being made in the fight against this terrible disease.”

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