The Astronomical Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease

July 2nd, 2010 | Sources: Alzheimer's Association

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In the absence of disease-modifying treatments, the cumulative costs of care for people with Alzheimer’s disease will exceed $20 trillion, in today’s dollars, over the next 40 years according to a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Where'dIputmyglassesThe report, “Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease: A National Imperative” concludes that the number of Americans with the disease will jump from 5.1 million today to 13.5 million by 2050.
 
Driving the exploding costs of Alzheimer’s by 2050 is the fact that nearly half (48 percent) of the afflicted 13.5 million people will have an advanced form of the disease which is associated with expensive, intensive care.

The report also highlights the remarkable financial impact that even modest, incremental treatment improvements can have on this trend. For example, a treatment that delays onset of Alzheimer’s disease by five years would, if instituted now, decrease the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s from 5.6 million to 4 million by the end of the decade.

Annual Medicare savings by 2020 would be $33 billion, and would climb to $283 billion by 2050 in this scenario.

“Today, there are no treatments that can prevent, delay, slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association in a press release. “While the ultimate goal is a treatment that can completely prevent or cure Alzheimer’s, we can now see that even modest improvements can have a huge impact.”
 
“Given the magnitude and the impact of this disease, the government’s response to this burgeoning crisis has been stunningly neglectful,” said Johns. “The federal government has sent a token response and has no plan. Immediate and substantial research investments are required to avoid an even more disastrous future for American families and already overwhelmed state and federal budgets.”


 

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