225076 Justification of Investing in Alzheimer's Research and Timing to Act

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sophie Shen , Center on Long Term Care, The Lewin Group, Falls Church, VA
Lisa Maria B. Alecxih, MPA , Center on Long Term Care, The Lewin Group, Falls Church, VA
Alzheimer's is a major cause of later life disability. As baby boomers age, Alzheimer's will become more prevalent and will become a painful burden for millions of families. With no treatment to stop or delay development, scientific opportunities are stalled by minimal investment in the disease. One reason for minimal Alzheimer's scientific investment is that little has been done on the cost-saving impact of Alzheimer's research. The Alzheimer's Delay Impact 2050 model simulates this potential impact of treatment research through year 2050 on the number of individuals with Alzheimer's; healthcare expenditures; and cost of drugs. The model specifically estimates return on investment of treatment breakthroughs.

Based on Census population projections, Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey expenditure data, and prevalence data, the model simulates number who die of or develop Alzheimer's; estimates transitions from lower to higher severity; and hypothesizes disease delay, costs, and savings of drug breakthroughs.

Assuming a new treatment breakthrough in 2020 with a 25% take-up rate, the model predicts that Alzheimer's will affect 10% of people over age 65. Alzheimer's spending could total $144 billion in 2020 and $702 billion in 2050 (2005 dollars), from $92 billion in 2005. However, a treatment breakthrough could result in $429 billion savings over 2020-2050, much of which would benefit Medicare.

As Alzheimer's has serious consequences for individuals, families, and healthcare systems, projections under different scenarios are important for planning the future needs of the aging population. The Alzheimer's Delay Impact 2050 can help policymakers allocate limited research resources to Alzheimer's.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the impact of Alzheimer’s on the healthcare system and families; Define the gap in public research investment for Alzheimer’s compared with other diseases and assess the reasons; Demonstrate the Alzheimer’s Delay Impact 2050 model and compare cost-savings under different scenarios; Discuss opportunities for public and private investment in Alzheimer’s research and formulate a method to calculate the return on investment at national and state/local levels

Keywords: Dementia, Cost Issues

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I work on long-term care and aging issues and modeling methods.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.