Forgotten economic implications of Alzheimer’s disease
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A lzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive degenerative disease that requires specialised chronic care. It is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly and one of the most expensive diseases in the Western world (behind cardiovascular diseases and cancer). At present, AD accounts for an estimated $US100 billion/year in healthcare costs in the US. With the proportion of elderly patients in the population increasing, these healthcare costs are set to escalate. However, current economic analyses of AD are largely expeditions into uncharted territory, delegates were told at a Bayer-sponsored symposium at the 10th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy [ Philadelphia, US; May 1998 ]. The economics of AD is complicated because the disease imposes enormous economic and emotional burdens on patients, their families and healthcare providers. Consequently, it is very difficult to accurately assess the impact of drug therapy in this disease.