This Thursday, Medicare celebrates its 50th anniversary! One critical part of Medicare for older Americans and people living with disabilities is the Part D prescription drug benefit that began in 2006. In celebration of Medicare’s birthday, we’re taking a look at medicines in development for older Americans.
More than 9 in 10 older Americans have at least one chronic condition and more than 7 in 10 have at least two. The biopharmaceutical industry is committed to developing medicines that help patients live longer, healthier lives and that includes treatments to manage chronic conditions and some of the most debilitating diseases facing Americans as they age.
Medicare Part D is a competitive marketplace that allows older Americans to access needed medicines. A closer look reveals there are more medicines in development for older Americans following the implementation of Part D in 2006. Here’s a snapshot of medicines in development for older Americans in 2003, when the Medicare Modernization Act that created Part D was passed, and what the picture looked like in 2013, 10 years later.
Continued research and development to find cures and treatments for these diseases and others is critical. Alzheimer’s disease could afflict nearly 8 million people by 2030 unless a cure or preventative treatment is found. The prevalence of bladder and kidney disorders grows with age. More than 6.5 million Americans age 65 and older battle depression. And more than 12 million older Americans are living with some form of arthritis.
We must continue to support robust biopharmaceutical research and development to find new treatments and cures for patients, including those who have serious unmet medical needs. Thankfully, there are more than 435 medicines in the pipeline offering hope for aging patients and for all Americans. And overall, more than 7,000 medicines are in development around the world, with 70 percent potentially first-in-class.
Part D is an important part of the Medicare program, delivering medicines to the patients who need them. Learn more about Medicare Part D on our new webpage at PhRMA.org/PartD.
Allyson Funk Ally is a former senior director of public affairs at PhRMA focused on advocacy issues for the biopharmaceutical industry. Her expertise includes Medicare, Medicaid, 340B, health reform and more. Prior to PhRMA, her experience included leading health communications for a large membership organization, supporting public affairs clients and working for the governor of Louisiana.