The global pharmaceutical industry is researching nearly 260 medicines to treat Alzheimer’s disease – and UK scientists are having a major input into the work, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said today.


​“Terry Pratchett has announced a major donation for research into the disease, and fans of the Discworld author should know that the international drugs industry is already on the case in a major way,” said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI.

“Yet all this work will be wasted if patients such as Terry never have the chance to get the medicines, thanks to barriers that are put in the way by NICE and various NHS processes. Patients in Britain are prescribed fewer new, innovative medicines than those in France, Germany and other comparable countries, and currently available treatments for Alzheimer’s are no exception.”

Figures show that, of the 258 medicines in development worldwide for Alzheimer’s, UK scientists are playing a leading role in developing 23 of them – some nine per cent of the total.

“This is a very high percentage of the global investment in Alzheimer’s research, given that the UK domestic market is very much smaller – only some three per cent,” said Dr Barker.

About 20 UK-based companies are engaged in research in this area. However, researching and developing a new medicine is a lengthy business - it takes on average some 10-12 years and costs £500 million to bring just one through to patients. 

For further information, please contact: ABPI Press office 020 7747 1410

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