‘Alzheimer’s Ready’: Overcoming the Barriers in the UK

Today's post is from Thom Thorp, Head Government Affairs and Communications, Europe and Canada & Senior Director Corporate Affairs and Market Access, Lilly UK and Northern European Hub.

Being ‘Alzheimer’s ready’ is the focus of LillyPadEU during this World Alzheimer’s Month.  But what does that mean in practice?  For patients, their carers and families?  How can they benefit from the pipeline of new treatments we hope to see reaching the market over the next decade?  

This is the theme of the latest impactful report from Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK); Treatments of Tomorrow: Preparing for Breakthroughs in Dementia  in which they set out some of the barriers the UK will have to overcome to build an environment ‘where innovative treatments can be assessed, valued, adopted and accessed as quickly as possible’.  

By breaking the challenges into developmental, systemic, financial and cultural, the UK’s leading Alzheimer’s research charity has made sense of the scale of the challenge and the role multiple organisations will have to play if we are to defeat dementia.   From accurately identifying patients who could benefit, to assessing cost effectiveness using current health economic models, many organisations will have to rethink their approach, and move beyond business as usual.  

If they do so the rewards will be significant. Not only for the patients of today and tomorrow, but also for our wider economy.  ARUK has calculated that if we could slow the progression of the disease by 25 percent from 2020, the cost of dementia would steadily decrease, resulting in potential savings in the UK of £1.8bn per annum by 2050.   Additionally, there would be 33 percent fewer people with dementia by 2030 and almost 400,000 fewer informal carers.

ARUK rightly acknowledges this can’t be done by one individual or organisation alone.  It will take co-operation and compromise across Government, the Department of Health, NICE, NHS providers, commissioners and the pharmaceutical industry.

This is going to be a long road.  But one we need to start walking together if we are going to achieve our goal of make dementia preventable by 2025.