Feature

Federal budget grants $1.8 billion to Alzheimer’s and dementia research


 


While a record-setting amount in the AD research world, this year’s $1.8 billion appropriation is a fraction of what other costly diseases receive. By comparison, the budget granted the National Cancer Institute $5.7 billion for its research programs.

“Compared to what the cost of the disease brings to Americans in terms of Medicare, Medicaid, and out of pocket expenses, it’s not that much,” Mr. Egge said. “But we have the opportunity to use this money to change these huge numbers that we’re facing.”

Robert Egge, chief public policy officer and executive vice president of governmental affairs for the Alzheimers Association

Robert Egge

In 2018 alone, Alzheimer’s will cost Americans about $277 billion, according to the latest Alzheimer’s Association report. “2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” If the disease prevalence trajectory is unaltered by a preventive or therapeutic agent, the total cost to U.S. taxpayers, patients, and families will break $1.3 trillion by 2050.

A 2013 report by the Rand Corporation found that, although Alzheimer’s affects fewer people than cancer or heart disease, the cost of treating and caring for those patients far outstrips spending in either of those other categories. The conclusions were perhaps even more startling, considering that it looked only at costs related solely to Alzheimer’s, not the cost of treating comorbid illnesses.

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