Senators Collins, Klobuchar Urge Administration To Provide Additional Support For Research to Help Fight Alzheimer’s

In letter to the President, senators call for a doubling of support for federal Alzheimer’s research to help meet the goals outlined in the bipartisan National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease

 

Last November, Collins and Klobuchar introduced a Senate Resolution declaring that the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025 is an urgent national priority

 

            Washington, DC— U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Amy Klobuchar urged the Administration to provide additional support for research to help fight Alzheimer’s. In a letter to President Obama, the Senators call for a doubling of support for federal Alzheimer’s research to help meet the goals outlined in the bipartisan National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. Last November, Collins and Klobuchar introduced a Senate Resolution declaring that the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025 is an urgent national priority.

            In 2010, Senator Collins, who is Senate co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, co-authored the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a coordinated, strategic national plan to combat and effectively treat Alzheimer’s.  The Department released the first National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease in 2012 with the primary goal to “prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.”

            “Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that takes a tremendous personal and economic toll on both the individual and family, and our entire society,” Collins said. “Finding better treatments and ultimately a cure for this terrible disease must be an urgent national priority. To reach this goal, we must double funding and develop a plan for meeting our goal of $2 billion a year within five years.”

            “Alzheimer’s is wreaking havoc on patients, their families, and our health care system, and the situation is only going to become more dire in the future,” Klobuchar said. “That’s why we need to boost federal investments in research that will help treat and ultimately cure Alzheimer’s.”

 

The full text of the letter is below:

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that exacts a tremendous personal and economic toll on the individual, the family and our society.  In addition to the human suffering it causes, Alzheimer’s costs the United States more than $200 billion a year, including $142 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.  That price tag will increase exponentially as the baby boom generation ages. 

 

If nothing is done to change the trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease, our country will not only face a mounting public health crisis, but an economic one as well.  The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that, without new treatments or a cure, Alzheimer’s will cost the United States an astonishing $20 trillion over the next 40 years.

 

Alzheimer’s is costing the United States more than $200 billion per year, yet we are spending less than three tenths of one percent of that amount – an estimated $584 million in FY 2014 -- on research.  Alzheimer’s receives funding that is disproportionate to its human and economic toll.  Indeed, similarly deadly diseases receive annual funding of $2 billion, $3 billion and even $6 billion for research.  Surely, we can do more for Alzheimer’s given the tremendous human and economic price of this devastating disease.

 

Investments in research for other diseases have yielded tremendous results:  patients have access to new treatments, and death rates for some diseases are decreasing.  At the same time, mortality due to Alzheimer’s is escalating dramatically, and it stands alone among the top ten causes of death without an effective way to prevent, treat, or cure the disease.

 

There is promising research in the pipeline that holds great hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their families.  The research community is poised to make important contributions toward the treatment of this disease through clinical trials and by investigating new therapeutic targets.

 

The Omnibus Appropriations bill for FY 2014 takes an important step forward by providing for a $100 million increase for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institute of Aging.  We believe, however, that we need to do more.

 

The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which was authorized by the bipartisan 2010 National Alzheimer’s Project Act, has as its primary goal, to “prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.”  To meet that goal, the Chairman of the Advisory Council created by the legislation says that we will need to devote $2 billion a year to Alzheimer’s research. 

 

We believe that increasing our nation’s spending on Alzheimer’s research to just one percent of what we are currently spending to care for Alzheimer’s patients is a wise investment.  We therefore urge you to call for a doubling of our investment in Alzheimer’s research in your FY 2015 budget request and ask that you work with us to develop a plan to meet our ultimate goal of a $2 billion annual investment within the next five years.

 

We know that you share our commitment to finding a way to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.  Thank you for your efforts, and we look forward to working with you to meet that goal.