The Future of Cures: Investing in Value, Innovation and Access

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Work by researchers at the Schaeffer Center illustrates how game-changing medical innovations for prevalent diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, could generate billions of dollars in value to society and more than justify high price tags. For example, they estimate a five-year delay in onset could reduce prevalence of Alzheimer’s in 2050 by 3.7 million patients, or 40.6 percent, and save nearly $600 billion in total care costs by 2050. But when targeting which new therapies to develop, pharmaceutical manufacturers must choose between pursuing cures to be used for a short period and discontinued once the patient is well, or chronic therapies that manage but do not cure disease, to be taken for the patient’s lifetime. The economics of this choice often favor the chronic treatment, unless a cure can be sold at a very high price. But high prices bring their own problems, from public outcry and political backlash to affordability barriers that keep the patients who need the cures or breakthrough treatments from getting them.  Download the issue brief here.