Alzheimer’s Association advocates celebrate Alzheimer’s legislative victory with an eye to the president’s 2016 budget
As the largest Alzheimer’s advocacy organization in the world, the Alzheimer’s Association, and its relentless advocates, applaud Congress for creating a formal process to ensure that scientific judgment will guide them in future Alzheimer’s research funding decisions. This critical provision comes from the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, which was fully incorporated within the fiscal year 2015 funding bill signed into law by the president. Because of this action, Congress will be equipped with the best information to determine necessary Alzheimer’s research funding levels in each year leading up to 2025 to achieve the primary goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, creating a means to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s.
“In setting funding levels, Congress has told us that they want to hear directly from the nation’s top scientists. That’s exactly what the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act does by connecting scientists with appropriators,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “The Alzheimer’s Association urged the introduction and passage of this Act so that Congress understands what science will bring us to the day when there will be survivors of Alzheimer’s, just as there now are for the other major diseases in our country.”
Introduced in April, the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act calls for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to submit a Professional Judgment Budget for Alzheimer’s disease research each year until 2025 to achieve annual research milestones established under the National Alzheimer’s Plan. It will reflect the state of Alzheimer’s knowledge and the required investments in research identified by leading scientists to achieve the plan’s 2025 objective. With the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, Congress has created a mechanism that will utilize rigorous scientific judgment, rather than shifting political interests and unforeseen events, to guide Congressional funding allocations to achieve the 2025 goal.
Alzheimer’s Association grassroots advocates and staff held thousands of congressional meetings to secure support for the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act since the bill’s introduction. While the Alzheimer’s Association and its sister organization, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, were the only two organizations to endorse and work to advance the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, the legislation received strong, bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
In addition to the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, the funding bill included a $25 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, which comes on the heels of an unprecedented $122 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, education, outreach and caregiver support in fiscal year 2014. Together, these increases bring annual federal funding for Alzheimer’s research to $591 million. However, scientists have stated that accomplishing the goal of the National Alzheimer’s Plan will require a commitment of at least $2 billion a year.
“According to leading experts, we must dramatically increase research funding to accomplish the primary goal of the National Alzheimer’s Plan to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025. The Alzheimer’s Accountability Act will ensure that Congress hears directly from scientists what they will need to successfully achieve the federal government’s goal,” said Johns. “We now eagerly look forward to the President’s fiscal year 2016 budget with the tools in place to implement urgently needed, significant increases in Alzheimer’s funding to finally stop the human and economic devastation it causes.”
There are currently more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease at a cost to the nation of $214 billion a year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report. Though Alzheimer’s is not normal aging, because advancing age is the greatest risk factor and Americans are living longer than ever before, those numbers are projected to soar to as many as 16 million by 2050, costing the nation $20 trillion over the next 40 years.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and available resources, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®. For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.