Press Release

Alzheimer's Research Setbacks Critical for Breakthroughs

PhRMA July 15, 2015

Since 1998, 123 Alzheimer’s medicines failed in clinical trials, but biopharmaceutical research companies committed to solving Alzheimer’s puzzle  

Live webcast to discuss report findings July 15 at 1:30 p.m. EDT at www.phrma.org/Alz15; join Twitter conversation with #Alz15 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 15, 2015) — Today, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released a new report, “Researching Alzheimer’s Medicines: Setbacks and Stepping Stones,” that found 123 potential medicines for Alzheimer’s disease were halted in clinical trials between 1998 and 2014, while four medicines were approved during the same timeframe. While this 30-to-1 ratio of setbacks to successes demonstrates the challenge and complexity of Alzheimer’s research, it is important to recognize the role of these so-called “failures” in advancing knowledge and laying the foundation for future advances.

The report features a foreword by Robert Egge, executive director, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM, a sister organization of the Alzheimer’s Association), highlighting the collaborative role of biopharmaceutical companies in developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The disease – which currently affects some 5.3 million Americans and is the sixth-leading cause of death – remains the only leading cause of death in the United States without a way to cure, prevent or even slow disease progress.

Though Alzheimer’s disease represents one of the most vexing scientific and medical challenges of our time, biopharmaceutical research companies are actively pursuing many potential new treatments; 59 medicines for Alzheimer’s and other dementias are currently in the development pipeline.

“Alzheimer’s disease brings enormous suffering to millions of individuals and their families – and its impact is expected to balloon over time,” said John J. Castellani, president and chief executive officer, PhRMA. “America’s biopharmaceutical companies have never been more committed or determined to unlock the mysteries of Alzheimer’s. Continued collaboration across the health care ecosystem and maintaining an environment that supports and rewards medical innovation will help us get there.”

Alzheimer’s disease has a devastating impact on individuals, but also on society, accounting for $226 billion each year in direct medical costs, due in part to the cost of nursing home care. Indirect costs of the disease are also significant with 15.4 million caregivers, often family and friends, providing an estimated 18 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at $218 billion in 2014, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report.

The need for new treatments to ease the burden on patients and society is acute. A new medicine that could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years would reduce the number of people with the disease by approximately 40 percent and save the health care system $367 billion a year by 2050.

To showcase the science driving Alzheimer’s research, PhRMA will host a live webcast on July 15 at 1:30 pm (EDT) to discuss the report’s findings. The webcast will feature executive leaders from PhRMA, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alliance for Aging Research and Biogen, who will share insight on current research and development in the fight against the disease. For more information, please visit http://www.phrma.org/


About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $51.2 billion in 2014 alone.

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