Lawmaker is House co-author of the law requiring development of national plan to treat, cure Alzheimer’s disease
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With approximately 5.4 million Americans suffering nationwide from Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced $156 million to support Alzheimer’s research and care. Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chair of the Congressional Taskforce on Alzheimer’s Disease and author the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), signed into law last year, praised the announcement and called for swift implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan.
“The urgency of the Alzheimer’s pandemic demands immediate action, and today’s announcement from Secretary Sebelius and Director Collins heralds vital progress in our nation’s commitment to curing this devastating disease. President Obama signaled this commitment last year when he signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act into law, and HHS has been both thoughtful and aggressive in its development of a national plan.
“The nation’s scientists and researchers stand ready, and we must ensure they have the funding to develop the treatments and technologies that bring us closer to a cure. Currently, the federal government spends a penny on Alzheimer’s research for every $3.50 it spends caring for our citizens with the disease. In the case of Alzheimer’s a ‘penny for prevention’ isn’t just worth ‘a pound of cure’, it is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
“We vowed to care for our citizens as they age. We must support the millions of families struggling everyday with this disease. I look forward to working with the President and with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that those fighting to cure this disease have the tools they need to banish Alzheimer’s to the history books.”
Unless progress is made against this disease, by 2050, the U.S. government will spend $600 billion a year out of Medicare and $200 billion a year in Medicaid on Alzheimer’s alone. In one generation, the Medicare costs of this one disease will be more than our entire federal defense budget is now.
Last week, Rep. Markey introduced H.R. 3891, the bipartisan Spending Reductions Through Innovations in Therapies (SPRINT) Act, which would spur innovation in research and drug development for high-cost, chronic health conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
In April 2011, Rep. Markey authored the Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (H.O.P.E.) Act to encourage early Alzheimer’s diagnoses and connect caregivers to information and resources. In May 2011, Rep. Markey and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-Chair of the Congressional Taskforce on Alzheimer’s disease, introduced the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act, which would require the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a strategic plan to expedite therapeutic outcomes for those with or at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and coordinate Alzheimer’s research within the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health and across all Centers and Institutes of the NIH.