Currently, an estimated 5.5 million Americans are living with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD).1 In 2017, the disease will cost the U.S. an estimated $259B, of which drug costs are only ~$2B.1,2
By comparison, there were roughly 1.7 million new cancer patients in the U.S. in 2016, and drug costs associated with all cancers cost the U.S. a combined ~$50B.2,3 As the population ages, the prevalence of AD is expected to grow substantially, roughly tripling to nearly 14 million U.S. patients by 2050.1 Falling agespecific risks of dementia (as seen in some high-income countries over the last 25 years)4 may relieve some of this future burden, but the overall growth of the elderly population will still lead to a large patient pool. In addition, AD is becoming a more common cause of death. Death records indicate that mortality attributed to AD has increased 89% between 2000 and 2014, while other leading causes of death like heart disease and stroke have consistently declined.1 Meanwhile, current treatments for AD target only symptoms and fail to slow the progression of disease.
However, change may be on the horizon. Despite the recent failure of solanezumab,5 verubecestat6 and others, investment in clinical trials in AD is at an all-time high.7 Promising results of other agents, such as aducanumab, suggest that we may be closer than ever to the approval of a Disease Modifying Therapy (DMT) in AD.*
Given this potential for transformative change, it is more important than ever to consider whether the current healthcare system is developed enough to deliver the full benefit of such a treatment. We believe the answer is no, and we have identified five key challenges that stakeholders across the system – policy makers, providers, pharma, caregivers, patients and patient associations – will need to solve together in order to successfully realize the full benefit of a DMT.