Report: More than 430 medicines in development for chronic diseases in elderly
America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 435 innovative new medicines to target 15 leading chronic conditions affecting the Medicare population, according to a new report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
These medicines in development—all either in clinical trials or under review by the FDA—are diverse in scope. They include:
- 110 for diabetes, which affects 10.9 million Americans age 65 and older
- 62 for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, which affect 1.5 million and 27 million Americans respectively
- 67 for Alzheimer’s disease, which could affect 15 million people in the U.S. by 2050 if no new medicines are found to prevent, delay or stop the progression of the disease
- 61 for heart disease—heart failure, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and high cholesterol
- 40 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which affects approximately 13 million adults, with the highest prevalence rate in those over age 65.
With the aging population and life expectancy climbing, higher rates of chronic diseases remain a major challenge for our health care system. Tremendous advances in medical science, combined with the benefits of lifestyle changes, have allowed more individuals to continue living their lives with one or more chronic illnesses. Today nearly 92% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77% have at least two, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA).
“Treatment advances have led to significant progress against many chronic diseases, but challenges remain,” said John J. Castellani, PhRMA president and CEO. “The 435 medicines in the pipeline today offer incredible hope for aging patients and the sustainability of our health care system.”
According to NCOA, chronic diseases account for 75% of the money the U.S. nation spends on health care, with direct healthcare expenditures for chronic conditions in the U.S. totaling more than $262 billion in 2009. Among older Americans, 95% of healthcare costs are for chronic diseases, with the cost of providing healthcare for one person aged 65 or older being three to five times higher than the cost for someone younger than 65, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chronic diseases pose their greatest risks as people age, with heart disease and cancer leading the pack, along with stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. However, the ability to prevent, manage and treat chronic diseases has progressed dramatically in recent years, due in large part to the discovery and availability of new innovative medicines.