$627 Billion. That was the estimated national cost of Alzheimer’s disease in 2021.
That’s more than 10x Warren Buffett’s net worth. That’s more than most countries’ GDP.
Central nervous system (CNS) disorders like Alzheimer’s disease are a global economic crisis. Without efficient treatments or a cure, Alzheimer’s remains the only disease in the top 10 causes of death in the US without an approved, disease-modifying drug.
Understanding the Disease: A Societal Impact
60 seconds. That’s how often someone develops Alzheimer’s in the US, according to Us Against Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia and makes up approximately 60–80% of dementia cases. It is a progressive neurological disorder that causes brain atrophy, degenerating brain cells which lead to cognition issues such as memory loss, behavioral changes, and difficulty or inability to perform daily tasks.
3 seconds. That’s how often someone develops dementia.
More than 55 million people suffer from dementia. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, this will double every 20 years. By 2030, there will be 78 million people living with dementia. By 2050, it will reach an estimated 152 million.
An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is devastating news for a patient and their family. Watching a loved one deteriorate and being unable to help stop the disease’s progression is a heart-wrenching experience.
Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 65 and older have an average life expectancy of just 4–8 years. From 2000–2019, the reported deaths from the disease have increased more than 145%. In comparison, cardiovascular disease, the #1 cause of death, only increased by 7.3%. During this time, deaths caused by heart disease, strokes, and HIV have significantly decreased, while Alzheimer’s deaths continue to rise rapidly. Alzheimer’s disease kills more seniors than breast and prostate cancer combined.
Two-thirds of people who die from dementia do so in nursing homes, compared to 20% of people with cancer. At age 80, an estimated 75% of Alzheimer’s patients live in a nursing home, compared to only 4% of the general 80-year-old population.
The Economic Toll
Alzheimer’s disease is the costliest disease in the nation.
If dementia were a country, it would be the 14th largest economy in the world.
In 2021 alone, there was a $272 billion loss in productivity by family and friends providing unpaid care to people suffering from the disease. This was the result of over 17 billion hours of unpaid care by over 16 million people across the nation.
The total national cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias was $355 billion in 2021. Formal caregivers provide over 18 billion hours of paid care each year.
Annually, the total economic cost (including paid and unpaid care) of Alzheimer’s disease exceeds $600 billion in just the United States.
Direct vs Indirect Costs
So, what’s the difference between unpaid care and paid care? The costs of both are alarmingly close.
Unpaid care (indirect costs) includes:
- Informal caregiving given by family members — this ranges from 11–70 hours per week for about 80% of Alzheimer’s patients who live at home. Essentially, this means that 80% of people with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis who still live at home, are not receiving paid care from a nurse or medical specialist but rather from their own family members.
- Family and friends providing unpaid/informal care assist patients with their basic daily activities, including eating, bathing, getting dressed, cooking, driving, medication administration, and other such factors of their daily life. These responsibilities increase as the dementia progresses, until the patient requires institutionalization or more professional care.
- Indirect costs include the patient’s loss of income due to their disease and a loss or reduction in income by the informal caregiver.
- According to SciELO, the use of informal care is higher and associated with an Alzheimer’s patient’s cognition, function, comorbidities, and living either with a spouse or a child.
- Paid care (direct costs) includes:
- Care provided by skilled nurses
- Home healthcare by licensed/formal caregivers
- Hospice care
- Hospital resources
- Medical and social services
- Drug costs
Unpaid care affects more than just the economic stability of family caregivers, however. The intangible costs are substantial. Aside from the loss of productivity due to needing to focus on their loved one’s health, 30% of caregivers experience depression, high levels of anxiety, and a sense of burden. Nearly 60% report an overwhelming sense of emotional stress. The indirect cost is more than financial — caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease takes a massive toll on the caregiver’s quality of life and emotional and physical health. This intangible cost impacts an Alzheimer’s patient’s family and society.
Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers are women, and approximately one-third of informal caregivers are daughters of Alzheimer’s patients. Roughly a quarter of these caregivers are classified as “sandwich generation” caregivers, which means they care for their parent who has Alzheimer’s as well as at least one child under the age of 18.
The Disease That Will Bankrupt Medicare
It is estimated that Alzheimer’s disease is on the trajectory to bankrupt the Medicare program. According to Us Against Alzheimer’s, Medicare and Medicaid only cover an expected 67% of the total health care and long-term care payments associated with Alzheimer’s. That’s only $239 billion of the $355 billion annual cost.
One in every 5 dollars of Medicare spending is spent on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Compared to Medicare payments for services to beneficiaries for people over the age of 65, those with Alzheimer’s disease are three times greater than payments to those without Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Medicaid payments are estimated to exceed 23 times as much compared to those without the disease.
Families and Medicaid (rather than Medicare) carry the majority of the financial burden for those who have Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, Alzheimer’s adds approximately 11% to the average $17,000/year Medicare cost, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Dementia is considered the most expensive disease per person. Without a cure or efficient treatments, people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementias need care and treatment from the time they are diagnosed through the rest of their lives.
A $1.3 Trillion Market
While the United States had over 6 million Alzheimer’s patients in 2022, this number is set to increase by nearly 22% by 2025. Globally, over 55 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and this is set to increase to an estimated 139 million people by 2050. The number of people living with dementia is set to nearly double every 20 years.
The estimated global economic cost of dementia is more than $1.3 trillion. By 2030, the global annual cost is estimated to reach $2.8 trillion.
The Current Treatment Landscape
Alzheimer’s disease has no cure.
Current, approved treatments are inefficient and do not modify the disease. They only work for a short time — 3–6 months — before the patient continues to regress and eventually passes due to the disease. These unsuccessful treatments include oral medication and intravenous therapies. They only slow the progression of Alzheimer’s for a limited time, after which the patient’s body adjusts to the medicine, rendering the drug ineffective. Due to the short length of efficiency, these medications require frequent dosage increases, which have devastating, deteriorative effects on the patient’s body.
Three-fourths of adults living with dementia have not been formally diagnosed. This reality means they don’t have access to the treatment they need and are simply suffering through the disease without support.
Despite countless long and expensive clinical trials, no approved disease-modifying treatments are available for Alzheimer’s. For over 30 years, researchers have tried to come up with a disease-modifying formulation but have repeatedly failed. The most popular and broadly accepted explanation for the multiple failures of clinical trials of disease-modifying treatment agents for Alzheimer’s disease includes late starts of therapies in disease development, inappropriate drug doses, toxicity, inefficient targeting, and an inadequate understanding of the pathophysiology of AD.
IV treatments come with a high price tag, between $5,000–$10,000 per month in the US. With this high cost, a patient typically spends 1–3 hours receiving a treatment that only delivers one-tenth of 1% of the medication to the brain. It’s costly, painful, time-consuming, and ineffective.
Without a new approach, this disease will only grow in patient size and cost.
The Dawn of a New Era
Kurve Therapeutics is the light amidst the darkness that is Alzheimer’s disease.
Our next-generation medtech and specialty-drug formulations offer a new approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease. The greatest barrier to treating the disease has been the inability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier — a protective “shield” around the brain that controls what enters the brain.
Kurve’s patented Controlled Particle Dispersion® (CPD) technology is designed to bypass the blood-brain barrier. In clinical studies, it has been shown to deliver up to 30x more disease-modifying medication directly to the brain than infusions.
In 22 nose-to-brain clinical trials, our technology has been studied in hundreds of cognitively impaired patients. Kurve’s innovative technology and formulations have been used in human clinical trials around the world through Phase I, II, and IIB clinical studies. Kurve technology has been studied in Alzheimer’s patients through five double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II studies.
With no cure or disease-modifying treatments available, Kurve’s mission is to finally offer hope to the millions of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This costly and debilitating disease has been detrimental to far too many people already. Over 55 million Alzheimer’s patients need and deserve a better treatment option. Our goal is to help tackle this global emergency through our breakthrough technology and formulations.To learn how you can impact a rapidly growing $1.3 trillion market, visit our Investor Page.