Senator Collins Leads Effort Calling On Congress To Make Fighting Alzheimer's Disease An Urgent National Priority

WASHINGTON, DC—This year, 5.2 million Americans, including 37,000 in Maine, will suffer from the devastating emotional and economic toll caused by Alzheimer’s disease. According to a recent report of the Alzheimer’s Association, unless the current trajectory changes, that number will increase to 13.5 million in 2050. In addition, caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will cost our nation $226 billion—with Medicare and Medicaid paying 68 percent of the cost—and unless an effective treatment is developed before 2050, the cost will soar to $1.1 trillion. Yet, our nation currently spends less than three tenths of one percent of the current cost—less than $600 million—on research.

Citing the tremendous personal and economic toll the disease takes on our nation, Senator Collins today led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing a Senate Resolution declaring that that the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025 is an “urgent national priority”. Senator Collins, who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Aging, has made increasing the federal investment to help fight Alzheimer’s disease among her highest legislative priorities.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) coauthored Senator Collins’ Alzheimer’s Resolution.

The resolution also calls on the Senate to double the amount of funding the U.S. spends on Alzheimer’s in fiscal year 2016 and develop a plan to meet the target of $2 billion, as recommended by medical science experts, over the next five years. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s report, if the federal government were to invest this amount, it would recoup its investment within the first three years a treatment or means of prevention becomes available.

In a speech to the Senate upon introducing her resolution, Senator Collins said, “Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that takes a tremendous personal and economic toll on both the individual and family and is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. If we are to prevent Alzheimer’s from becoming the defining disease of the next generation, it is imperative that we dramatically increase our investment in Alzheimer’s research. Doing so will not just save lives, it will save money.”

Senator Collins said that there is promising research that holds hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. “The research community is poised to make important advances through clinical trials and investigating new targets. But adequate funding is critical to advance this research.”

Senator Collins’ bipartisan Alzheimer’s resolution has been endorsed by a number of organizations including, the Alzheimer’s Association; USAgainst Alzheimer’s; the Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease, or LEAD coalition; and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.