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Alzheimer's set to cost economy an extra $26b, report warns


Alzheimer’s disease is set to cost the economy an additional $26.6 billion over the next two decades, according to a new report, which says urgent action is needed to stop the staggering rise in price.

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Almost half a million Australians are now living with dementia and Alzheimer’s and the costs associated with the diseases will continue to grow in the next 20 years.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, causes damage to the brain and impairs memory, thoughts and behaviour.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said it is the “major chronic disease of this century”.

“Dementia is the second leading cause of death and the leading cause of death of women in Australia,” she said.

“We acknowledge the Australian Government’s significant 2021 five-year investment in dementia and aged care reforms and in order to reduce costs in the longer term, there needs to be a bi-partisan long-commitment to improved services, research and increasing our understanding about dementia risk reduction.”

One way to cut costs would be making a disease modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease available to patients, according to the report.

It would mean fewer people would suffer symptoms classed as moderate to severe – over time easing the impact on the health, aged care and disability systems.

“The introduction of a disease modifying therapy has the potential to lower the economic impact but is only part of the solution,” McCabe said.

“The time for a holistic, sustained and coordinated approach is now.”

The report, Economic and Societal Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease in Australia, 2021-2041 was commissioned by Biogen Australia and New Zealand, and builds on previous learning from a 2017 report into forecasted costs of the disease.

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