Congress Includes $25 Million Increase For Alzheimer’s Research Funding In Spending Bill
Washington, DC – The 2015 government spending package, known as the ‘cromnibus,’ includes an increase of $25 million for the National Institute on Aging (NIA), with an expectation that much of the funding would support additional research into Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The increase follows a similar $100 million bump included for Fiscal Year 2014 and underscores the bipartisan support in Congress to address the mounting health and fiscal challenges of Alzheimer’s and dementia during a challenging fiscal climate. The increase for Alzheimer’s research amounts to more than 16 percent of the $150 million bump provided to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) overall.
“In order to confront head-on the cancer-size problem that is Alzheimer’s, the United States must ramp up funding for Alzheimer’s research to $2 billion a year from the current level of about $560 million,” said George Vradenburg, Chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer’s. “While it is encouraging that Congress has once again recognized the need for more Alzheimer’s research funding, this funding is a minimal down payment on what multiple experts have said is needed to achieve our national goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by 2025.”
Earlier this year, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies included in its Fiscal Year 2015 bill a $100 million increase in funding for the NIA. Last week, both the Senate and House Alzheimer’s Task Force leaders sent letters to the Appropriations Committee urging the $100 million increase.
“We’re grateful to the Senate and House champions who have supported increased funding, particularly Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, Labor, HHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin and Ranking Member Jerry Moran, and the leaders of the Senate and House Alzheimer’s Task Force leaders, including Senators Susan Collins, Mark Warner, and Ed Markey and Representatives Chris Smith and Maxine Waters,” Vradenburg said. “We look forward to working with them and other lawmakers in the House and Senate to secure additional resources in the coming year despite the formidable challenges that loom ahead with the return of sequestration.”
USAgainstAlzheimer’s has championed the push for increased funding for Alzheimer’s research, engaging Congress and the Administration aggressively on this issue. Earlier this year, USAgainstAlzheimer’s coauthored a letter of numerous Alzheimer’s organizations urging an increase from FY 14 levels. USAgainstAlzheimer’s also worked with the Senate Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease to secure letters from more than one-quarter of the Senate to appropriators urging the committee to continue making Alzheimer’s a priority.
In addition to the research funding, the measure includes language to support other Alzheimer’s programs such as the Alzheimer’s prevention, education and outreach initiative. It also includes language on how NIH sets its research priorities.
The spending bill, which is expected to pass the Congress in the next several days, also directs the Centers for Disease Control to recommend ways to obtain more accurate and complete measurements of the death rate due to Alzheimer's disease and dementia and to develop a consensus on the mortality burden of the disease.
Alzheimer’s affects 5.4 million people and 15.5 million caregivers in the U.S. and 44 million people and more than 100 million caregivers worldwide. Recent independent research shows that it is the third leading cause of death and the most expensive health condition in the U.S., outranking cancer and HIV/AIDS as a looming public health and fiscal issue. It is the only disease in the top ten that currently has no cure, treatment or prevention. Yet it receives dramatically less government funding, industry focus or scientific study than other less widespread diseases.
USAgainstAlzheimer's is an entrepreneurial and disruptive organization demanding a solution to Alzheimer's by 2020. Driven by the suffering of millions of families USAgainstAlzheimer’s presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments.