Press Release

Nearly 100 Medicines in Development for Alzheimer's

PhRMA May 2, 2013

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 1, 2010) — As the champagne corks are popping this New Year’s Eve, the first American Baby Boomers will turn age 65. Members of the demographic bulge that transformed American politics and culture are expected to usher in yet another momentous change -- a huge increase in the number of Alzheimer's disease patients. VIDEO LINK:

Although Alzheimer's is not a natural condition of aging, the vast majority of patients diagnosed with the disease are ages 65 and over. As the senior population in the United States more than doubles between now and 2050, to about 88.5 million, the number of Alzheimer's patients will more than double as well unless new treatments to prevent, arrest or cure the disease are found.

"The amount of suffering that will accompany the diagnosis of Alzheimer's for 13.5 million Americans is unacceptable, and the cost will be unsustainable," said John Castellani, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). "In millions of American homes, Alzheimer's disease already presents a crisis. The expected increase in Alzheimer's patients portends not only more personal pain and grief, but a national crisis."

If no medical progress is made, the cost of caring for Alzheimer's patients will rise to $1.08 trillion by 2050, according to an estimate by the Alzheimer's Association. That is more than the current U.S. Department of Defense budget. It is nearly 25 times more than this year's entire Department of Homeland Security budget.

Hope lies with new treatments. Today, America's biopharmaceutical companies are researching 98 medicines for dementia, mostly Alzheimer's, according to a report released today by PhRMA. All 98 are either in clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The work indicates a major commitment to Alzheimer's, given that each new medicine costs, on average, more than $1 billion to research and develop. 

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.

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