More Than 2000 New Medicines In Development For Older Americans

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More than 2,000 medicines for older Americans are currently being tested in clinical trials or are waiting for Food and Drug Administration approval, according to a new report released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

This latest PhRMA report on new, cutting-edge medicines in the research pipeline comes as a growing number of older Americans face severe health challenges and greater life expectancy.

The National Center for Health Statistics has predicted that people born in 2005 will live for nearly 78 years. In 1955, the average American was expected to live for only 69.6 years.

Topping the health challenges for seniors are heart disease, cancer and cerebrovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypertension alone affects 67 percent of those aged 60 and older. Chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and flu and pneumonia complete the seven chronic diseases that are the leading causes of death in older Americans.

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"Data from the National Institute on Aging show rates for late-life disability declining over the past few years - a period in which the number of treatments for late-life conditions has increased," said PhRMA President & CEO Billy Tauzin. "Advances in treating debilitating conditions are allowing more Americans to live independently later in life."

The new medicines include 150 for diabetes, which affects 12.2 million Americans age 60 and older; 62 for eye disorders that contribute significantly to late-life disability; and 91 for Alzheimer's disease, which could afflict 16 million people by 2050 without further advances in treatment. Other medicines target depression, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, prostate disease, bladder and kidney diseases, and other debilitating conditions.

Among the experimental treatments is a medicine that could potentially prevent or reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

"Patients need to know that there are many new, potential medicines out there," says PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken Johnson. "People who are suffering need hope."

Johnson stressed that while researchers are making exciting progress in the search for new treatments for older Americans, these efforts are wasted if the medicines that are developed don't get to the patients who need them.

Help is available to patients in need through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), a program sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research companies. To date, the PPA has helped more than 5 million patients nationwide. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA bus tour has visited all 50 states and more than 2,000 cities.

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