Press Release

430+ New Medicines to Treat Seniors with Chronic Diseases

Washington, D.C. (June 16, 2014) — 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 Food and Drug Administration (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 United States 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 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77 percent 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 PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. “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 percent of the money our nation spends on health care, with direct health care expenditures for chronic conditions in the United States totaling more than $262 billion in 2009. Among older Americans, 95 percent of health care costs are for chronic diseases, with the cost of providing health care 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, to name few. However, our 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.

The new report conveys a variety of novel approaches building on our growing knowledge of disease and scientific progress to treat many of these disorders. Examples include:

  • A potential new class of lipid-lowering treatments that would block a protein from interfering with the removal of LDL cholesterol from the blood.
  • A medicine in development for heart failure that relaxes blood vessels and reduces fluid buildup, that could reduce damage to the heart and other vital organs related to the damage associated with heart failure.
  • A next-generation, long-acting oral medicine to treat type 2 diabetes that increases insulin secretion resulting in lower blood sugar levels, making it potentially a once-weekly versus daily treatment.
  • A potential first-in-class medicine for Alzheimer’s disease that inhibits beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme (BACE), that could reduce plaque formation and modify Alzheimer’s disease progression.

In addition to information on some of the medicines in the pipeline, the new report delves into treatment advances for healthier aging, the Medicare prescription drug program’s role in improved health outcomes and cost savings, the importance of adherence to medicines to the health of patients and the economy, and comprehensive facts about chronic diseases in the United States.

About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $51.1 billion in 2013 alone.

Find PhRMA Online:

Website – http://www.phrma.org

Facebook – www.facebook.com/PhRMA

Blog – www.phrma.org/catalyst

Twitter – www.Twitter.com/PhRMA and www.Twitter.com/PhRMApress

YouTube – www.youtube.com/PhRMApress

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: http://www.innovation.org

For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: http://www.pparx.org

For information on ensuring the flow of medicines during public health emergencies, visit http://www.rxresponse.org