Last week I told you about the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and their report: 2010 Report: Medicines in Development for Alzheimer’s Disease. This report talks about how the biopharmaceutical research companies have nearly 100 medicines in development. Today there are 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and by 2050, the number is expected to jump to 13.5 million if no new medicines are found to prevent, delay or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently there are only five medications on the market, but they are only temporary measures — they don’t work forever. The last one was approved in 2003 … that’s seven years ago. We have no vaccine available and in a post I wrote last month, they are still testing it on animals. According to the report, “America’s biopharmaceutical companies today have 98 medicines in the later stages of the pipeline, meaning they are either in clinical trials or awaiting FDA review.”

Furthermore, the report states:

Even modest progress can drastically change the trajectory, which some warn is like a “tsunami” headed our way. For example, a breakthrough that delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by just five years would mean a significant drop in the number of Alzheimer’s patients. Instead of 13.5 million Americans suffering from the disease in 2050, the number would be 7.7—only a little more than today. Overall, a treatment to delay onset by five years would save the health care system $447 billion.

Most important is the suffering that would be reduced for the families involved. Click here to read the full report.

Related to this was a roundtable discussion which I was invited to consisting of representatives from pharmaceutical companies Merck (David Michelson, MD), Pfizer (Phil Iredale, Ph.D.), and Eli Lilly (Richard Mohs, Ph.D.) PhRMA was represented by David Wheadon, MD and playwright Trish Vrandenburg of US Against Alzheimer’s who wrote The Apple Doesn’t Fall. Bloggers who participated besides myself included Lillie Ammann from A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye and Joanne Reynolds of Blueprint for Caregiving. Click here to read Lillie’s summary. A transcript of the roundtable can be found here on PhRMA’s Web site.

To listen to researchers from Merck, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca, watch the video below.


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Filed under: Alzheimer's DiseaseAlzheimer's Disease ResearchClinical TrialsDementia

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