America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing 37 medicines to help the estimated 1.5 million Americans living with Parkinson’s Disease, a motor system disorder resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. All of the medicines are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Understanding Parkinson's Disease: Living, Working & the Economy
Each year, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and incidence increases with age. The combined cost to the U.S. economy in direct and indirect expenses is nearly $14 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:
- A gene therapy that targets the part of the brain that controls movement.
- A new medicine that targets a receptor found in the brain where degeneration and abnormality are often seen in Parkinson’s disease.
- New delivery mechanisms of approved treatments, including an intranasal formulation and an intestinal gel.
Researching and developing new medicines remains a risky investment and lengthy process—costing, on average, $1.2 billion, including the cost of failures, and taking between 10–15 years to bring a new medicine to patients. But advances in our understanding of diseases and how to treat them have allowed America’s biopharmaceutical research companies to conduct the cutting-edge research needed to reduce the destructive toll of Parkinson’s disease and to allow more patients to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.
Did You Know?
- The number of people in the United States with Parkinson’s disease is estimated to be as many as 1.5 million. Approximately 60,000 Americans are newly diagnosed each year.
- Parkinson’s disease affects about 50 percent more men than women.
- The average age of onset of the disease is 60, with incidence increasing signi? cantly with age. About 5 percent to 10 percent of people have “early-onset” disease that begins as early as age 50 or even earlier.
- Some early-onset diagnoses are linked to specific gene mutations. Total risk for the disease is between 2 percent and 5 percent if no family members have a known gene mutation. About 15 percent to 25 percent of people with Parkinson’s have a relative with the disease.
- Parkinson’s disease is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States.