Statement by George Vradenburg on World Alzheimer’s Day
Washington, DC – George Vradenburg, founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s and convener of the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease, released the following statement in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day. Vradenburg is also a member of the Advisory Council on Research, Care and Services to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Dementia Council, which was formed by Prime Minister David Cameron to support implementation of the G8 goal to stop Alzheimer’s by 2025.
September is globally designated as World Alzheimer’s Month – an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge the stigma so often associated with Alzheimer’s – and Sunday, September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day.
“Groundbreaking new research by Merrill Lynch reveals that people of all ages, including those in their 20’s and 30’s, overwhelmingly cite Alzheimer’s as the disease they most fear. In fact, people are more worried about Alzheimer’s than cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined,” said Vradenburg. “Yet when it comes to finding a cure there is a shocking lack of urgency.
“There are more than 44 million people worldwide estimated to be living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and more than 100 million people caring for them. I believe strongly that Alzheimer’s disease presents a moral imperative for action at a scale commensurate to the great and growing threat it presents to our nation and the world.
“Americans, as families and taxpayers, currently spend more than $200 billion annually for the costs of Alzheimer’s. If substantial progress is not made in stopping Alzheimer’s, Americans will bear more than $1.1 trillion in today’s dollars by 2050.
“What’s more, the world’s aging population is making the problem a fiscal and economic problem worldwide. The World Health Organization estimated that the global cost of dementia care in 2010 was more than $600 billion – 1.0% of global GDP. By 2030, the worldwide cost of caring for close to 90 million dementia patients could be a staggering $1,208 billion.
“This is not an acceptable situation. Business as usual is simply not an option. Something fundamental has to change. We need a concerted effort to change the trajectory of this disease and to mobilize a global assault on Alzheimer’s at the scale and scope global institutions attacked Polio in the 1950s and HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s.
“We need common global goals, a set of international norms and international collaboration that creates a stable and sustained international commitment to Alzheimer’s research, drug discovery and care delivery, including a worldwide increased enrollment in Alzheimer’s clinical trials. On top of this, we also need aligned and synchronized international regulatory policies that put candidate treatments for Alzheimer’s in the fast lane in Europe, the U.S., and Asia.
“Last week, Canada took an important step when it joined the rest of the G7 in adopting a national dementia plan. National plans, with metrics, goals and strategies to stop Alzheimer’s by 2025 and improve the care for those living with dementia today are an important part of a government’s response to the rising impact of the disease. It’s a commitment every country should make.
“Currently, the U.S. only spends around $550 million annually on Alzheimer’s research –about one third of one percent of the cost of care. If we are to have even a shot at stopping Alzheimer’s, it will require the U.S. and other nations to commit more to the cost of research.
“Strikingly, more than 60% of the world’s dementia population lives in low and middle income countries, where health and social systems are less developed than in the developed nations of Europe, North America and the Asian rim countries.
“Without global mobilization, we won’t stand a chance against this disease, and hundreds of millions of families around the world will suffer the consequences for decades. We need leadership to bring us all together with vision, resolve and hope – that is the role and responsibility of the United States and of every other nation.”
USAgainstAlzheimer's is an entrepreneurial and disruptive venture philanthropy 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, international public health organizations and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy and strategic investments. For more information go to: www.usagainstalzheimers.org.
The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) is a patient-powered industry coalition of private-sector leaders who have joined together to provide business leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The CEO Initiative seeks to partner with public leaders to transform the disease from a social, health, and economic crisis into an opportunity for healthy aging and innovation in research and care. In this era of aging populations, The CEO Initiative believes that it will take visionary, action-oriented leadership of public and private leaders working together to solve our greatest challenges. Learn more at: www.ceoalzheimersinitiative.org