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Alzheimer's Growth Shows Need for Increased FDA Funding

Coalition for a Stronger FDA says drug review programs need more money

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new estimate by the Alzheimer's Association shows that more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease -- a 10 percent growth over previous estimates and a number that could more than triple in the coming decades unless new treatments and cures are developed for the debilitating illness.

The new numbers re-emphasize the need for a strong and adequately funded drug safety review program at the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that new Alzheimer's disease drugs can be safely and rapidly brought to market, according to the Coalition for a Stronger FDA.

"As the population ages, more and more American families will be touched by Alzheimer's disease," said Tommy G. Thompson, co-chairman of the Coalition and the former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. "We simply can't afford for the FDA to be a bottleneck for new drugs and treatments because it is not adequately funded."

The Alzheimer's Association estimates that without a cure or effective treatments to delay the onset or progression of Alzheimer's disease, the prevalence could soar to 7.7 million people with the disease by 2030 and 16 million by the middle of the century. More information on the Alzheimer's Association report can be found at http://www.alz.org/news_and_events_rates_rise.asp.

"The funds needed by the FDA will be repaid hundreds of times over in health care savings by getting new Alzheimer's disease drugs quickly and safely to market," said Stephen McConnell of the Alzheimer's Association, a member of the Coalition. "It's an investment we can't afford not to make."

"We are committed to delivering transformational therapies to Alzheimer's patients within the next
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