With an estimated 4.5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer's disease and 15 million expected to be diagnosed over the coming decades, today a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced a resolution affirming the national goal of treating Alzheimer's by 2025. Led by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Michael Burgess (R-Texas), the members declared their support for the goal set forward by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Disease in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease.
Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) also introduced a bipartisan companion resolution in the Senate today. Hundreds of Alzheimer's caregivers and advocates are expected to visit Capitol Hill tomorrow to call for support for efforts to cure the disease.
The National Alzheimer's Project Act, which passed both the House and the Senate unanimously in 2010, required HHS to create the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. The second draft plan was released on April 13, 2012 and included the bold and transformative goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025.
"As a robust and dynamic blueprint for moving forward, the National Alzheimer's Plan provides the first, genuine sense of hope that, led by dedicated scientists and researchers, we will make progress against and eventually defeat this terrible disease," said Rep. Smith, the co-chairman of the Bipartisan, Bicameral Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease."This resolution is a timely and apt expression of support for the goals of the National Alzheimer's Plan."
"This resolution reflects the bold thinking and tireless commitment needed to tackle Alzheimer's disease so we can banish it to the history books," said Rep. Markey. "If we are going to beat Alzheimer's disease, we need concrete goals and a coordinated fight. The deadline of preventing and treating this devastating disease by 2025 will keep us on track and unify the work of scientists, doctors, caregivers and advocates. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to allocate funds to make the strategies outlined in this plan a reality."
"Families and patients living with Alzheimer's know the daily heartache this disease causes," said Rep. Burgess. "Ten million in the aging Baby Boom generation may also face this unless we treat and prevent Alzheimer's. The first step was creating a plan, and now with commitment and coordination, we can focus on the goal to finally overcome Alzheimer's."
"Before I lost my mother to Alzheimer's, our entire family wrestled with the challenge of ensuring that she had the best home care possible," said Senator Warner. "I understand what millions of Americans are up against, and I wholeheartedly support the ambitious goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer's by 2025."
"Alzheimer's disease takes a tremendous personal and economic toll on both the individual and the family," said Senator Collins. "As the Senate co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease, I am committed to conquering this dreadful disease that has caused such pain for so many American families. Our resolution supports the Department of Health and Human Service's goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer's by 2025, and it demonstrates an important commitment to a national effort to fight this horrible disease."
President Obama's budget for fiscal year 2013 included an increase of $80 million for new Alzheimer's research and care spending. Care alone for Alzheimer's patients is projected to cost Medicare and Medicaid $850 billion each year by 2050, adding tremendous strain to state and federal budgets. Scientists continue to make breakthroughs in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. On April 6, 2012, the FDA approved a new diagnostic test, developed by Eli Lilly & Co., which uses the chemical florbetapir and detects proteins in the brain related to Alzheimer's disease.
In February, Reps. Markey and Smith, co-Chairs of the Congressional Taskforce on Alzheimer's disease, and Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Collins introduced H.R. 3891, the bipartisan Spending Reductions Through Innovations in Therapies (SPRINT) Act, to spur innovation in research and drug development for high-cost, chronic health conditions such as Alzheimer's. In April 2011, Reps. Markey, Smith, and Burgess 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.
Original House co-sponsors of the resolution include: Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).
Senate co-sponsors include: Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mikulski, Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)