Bi-partisan Legislation Introduced to Fight Alzheimer’s and Other Chronic Health Conditions

Bill Spurs Research and Drug Development into Most Deadly, Costly Diseases Like Alzheimer’s

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, February 2, 2012, U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representatives Edward Markey (D-MA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), unveiled the Spending Reductions through Innovations in Therapies (SPRINT) Act, bipartisan legislation which would spur innovation in research and drug development for chronic health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, that are leading causes of death as well as the most costly to taxpayers. Also joining as cosponsors of this important legislation were Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

The SPRINT Act will help speed the development of drugs and therapies to combat the most deadly and costly chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. It invests in public-private partnerships to ensure scientists and researchers are able to develop new safe and effective drugs.

The bill seeks to accelerate development of promising therapies able to improve health outcomes and reduce federal health care costs of Alzheimer’s and other high-cost diseases. It would do so by establishing a public/private partnership whereby the Secretary of Health and Human Services would partner with non-profit venture entities to make strategic investments in the most promising research out there. It would also empower the Secretary to help streamline the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review process for therapies developed out of this program so they can be brought more quickly to market to the patients who need them.

The legislation saves the federal government and taxpayers by working to cure the diseases that bear the greatest health care costs. It requires that every $1 in federal funds be matched by $2 in private investment so that federal dollars are best spent on market-tested and market-ready drugs. Alzheimer’s disease alone will cost the nation $183 billion in 2012, 70 percent of which is covered by Medicare and Medicaid.