Washington, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, announced that a pair of bills that would cement and build on the important progress that has been made to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease advanced the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee by a 20-1 vote.
More than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s costs our nation an astonishing $345 billion per year, including $222 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. If we continue along this trajectory, Alzheimer’s is projected to claim the minds of 13.8 million seniors by 2060 and nearly surpass $1 trillion in annual costs by 2050. In 2022, family caregivers provided 18 billion hours of unpaid care for loved ones with dementia.
“We have made tremendous progress in recent years to boost funding for Alzheimer’s research, which holds great promise to end this disease that has had a devastating effect on millions of Americans and their families,” said Senator Collins, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. “These two bills will maintain our momentum and make sure that we do not take our foot off the pedal just as our investments in basic research are beginning to translate into potential new treatments. We must not let Alzheimer’s be one of the defining diseases of our children’s generation as it has ours.”
In 2011, Senator Susan Collins authored the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) with then-Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). NAPA convened a panel of experts, who created a coordinated strategic national plan to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. The law is set to expire soon and must be reauthorized to ensure that research investments remain coordinated, and their impact is maximized.
The NAPA Reauthorization Act—authored by Senator Collins and co-led by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)—would reauthorize NAPA through 2035 and modernize the legislation to reflect strides that have been made to understand the disease, such as including a new focus on promoting healthy aging and reducing risk factors.
The Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act—authored by Senators Collins, Markey, Capito, Warner, Moran, Menendez, Murkowski, and Stabenow—would continue through 2035 a requirement that the Director of the National Institutes of Health submit an annual budget to Congress estimating the funding necessary to fully implement NAPA’s research goals. Only two other areas of biomedical research – cancer and HIV/AIDS – have been the subject of special budget development aimed at speeding discovery.
"Earlier this year, Maine Alzheimer's Association advocates traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Senator Collins, share their personal experiences with Alzheimer's, and thank her for championing the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer's Accountability and Investment Act," said Drew Wyman, executive director, Alzheimer's Association Maine Chapter. "With treatments to change the trajectory of this disease finally approved by the FDA and more scientific breakthroughs on the horizon, we are finally seeing progress that will translate into giving Mainers in the early stages of Alzheimer's more quality time with their families. Thank you, Senator Collins, for your longstanding leadership in the fight against Alzheimer's."
The NAPA Reauthorization Act and Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Acts are endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.
The NAPA Reauthorization Act, as reported out of Committee, also includes updated language in recognition of the need to include underserved populations, including individuals with Down syndrome, who are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s as they age. The reported bill is endorsed by the National Down Syndrome Society, the National Down Syndrome Congress, and LuMind IDSC Foundation.