January 2013

Redesigned ACT-AD.org Officially Launches

The ACT-AD staff has been hard at work updating the coalition’s website, and we are proud to announce the official launch of the redesigned www.ACT-AD.org. The site’s redesign is aimed at better serving the members and reflecting the important mission of ACT-AD. The site now includes features like a searchable newsletter archive, a comprehensive activities section, and an improved resources page with helpful information for multiple audiences.

While the development process has been completed, we are always ready and willing to make appropriate changes that contribute to the site’s overall value. As you use www.ACT-AD.org feel free to pass along any suggestions or recommendation that you feel may be needed.

Send recommendations and suggestions to [email protected].

Advisory Council Meeting on National Alzheimer’s Plan Implementation

The Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, tasked with guiding enactment of National Alzheimer’s Project Act, held its seventh meeting on January 14 in Washington, DC. The meeting included updates from the subcommittees on the research, clinical services, and long-term care services on their progress in facilitating implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.

During the Research Subcommittee update, NIH officials took the opportunity to publically announce the release of the “2011-2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report,” as well as a corresponding scientific conference on related dementias which will be held May 1-2. ACT-AD is a sponsor of this conference.

The Advisory Council meeting also served as a venue for consideration of recommendations for an update to the National Plan, slated for April releaseRecommendationsfor the updated National Plan included calls for meaningful progress on a Global Alzheimer’s Action Plan, the expansion of incentives for those pursuing careers in geriatrics, and the issuance of grants by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMI) Alzheimer’s disease medical home pilot programs designed to improve care management.

All slides used during the meeting, including the recommendations for the next iteration of the National Plan, are available to the public. The Advisory Council’s next meeting is scheduled for April 29, 2013.

Sequester Delayed; Cuts Still Loom Over FDA

Just before the January 1 deadline, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) that delayed deep, mandatory, cuts to federal discretionary spending for two more months. Congress now has until March 1 to enact an alternative deficit reduction plan or the Administration will be forced to cut almost $85 billion from across the federal government.

Should sequestration take effect in March, it has been projected that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would have the year’s remaining 7 months to reach almost $270 million in savings. While many federal agencies are facing similarly harsh cuts, the FDA will have the burden of achieving those savings largely from cuts to agency personnel, infrastructure, and operations.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in a memo released January 14, recommending Federal Agencies cut non-personnel costs first, utilize furloughs, and, “…minimize impacts on the agency’s core mission in service of the American people.” Unfortunately, it has been estimated that for every $1 million less FDA is budgeted, four to five jobs are lost, making sequestration potentially responsible for the permanent loss of 1000 to 2000 jobs. Those thousands of jobs keep America’s food and drugs safe and ensuring timely access to breakthrough treatments. The loss of jobs and working capacity at the agency not only directly effect its core mission, to protect and promote the health of the American people, but stifles much-needed innovation and sets therapy development for costly conditions back for years to come.

To view ATRA, click here.

To read OMB’s sequester memo, click here.

Galien Forum Features Panel on Alzheimer’s Disease

Each year, the Galien Foundation, dedicated to fostering, recognizing, and rewarding excellence in scientific innovations that improve the state of human health, hosts a forum to encourage and acknowledge innovations that service the human condition. In past years, the Galien Forum has hosted debates among leaders from industry, academia and government on topics ranging from how to value therapeutic innovations, pharmacovigilance, the future of Health IT, and obesity and diabetes epidemics.

At the most recent forum in New York City, Merck’s Chief Medical Officer Michael Rosenblatt moderated a panel discussion, “Alzheimer’s Innovation and the White House 2025 Mandate: What Will It Take to Find a Treatment?” The panel included leaders from government, industry and patient advocacy organizations who discussed Alzheimer’s disease, the quest to develop medicines that may help address it, and the impact of Alzheimer’s disease from a number of perspectives: personal, medical, societal and economic.

To view the video of the panel “Alzheimer Innovation and the White House 2025 mandate”, click here.