New Survey Finds Alzheimer’s Disease a “National Priority,” with Voter Support Across Party Lines for Congressional Action and Faster FDA Review of New Therapies
November 24, 2009 —
* These fields are required.
A new voter survey sponsored by the ACT-AD Coalition (Accelerate Cure/Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease) finds that three-quarters of Americans nationwide and across party lines say it is personally
important to them to find a cure or to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, while a similar proportion of the national electorate say they look to Congress to make it “a national priority” to speed up the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) review process in specific ways for therapies that slow, halt or reverse the disease. Voters in large numbers also said that they would not be able to cover the personal cost of
Alzheimer’s care and that they were ready to reward or punish elected officials at the polls based on their willingness to act on Alzheimer’s now.
The survey was conducted jointly by the bipartisan team of Lake Research Partners (D) and American Viewpoint (R). Findings were presented today at the Rock Stars
of Science Capitol Hill Briefing, sponsored by Geoffrey Beene Gives Back®,
Research!America , Alzheimer Association, Wyeth, and Elan; and made possible
with the cooperation of The Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus and the
Alzheimer’s Caucus. The briefing united leaders in medical research including the
Director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, and rock
star Joe Perry from Aerosmith, to rally lawmakers to increase funding for medical
research priorities like Alzheimer’s, cancer, HIV/AIDS and genomics.
According to Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners, “There is clear
voter support for action on Alzheimer’s Disease. This survey sends a message to
elected officials that Alzheimer’s has captured the nation’s attention, and that it may
prove to be an important electoral issue.”
Dan Perry, President of ACT-AD, a coalition of national organizations seeking to
accelerate development of potential cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s, believes
that the survey reflects “the beginning of an Alzheimer’s challenge from the
American voter. We are on the verge of becoming the next generation of Alzheimer’s
casualties, and yet we have access to the same number of treatments to slow or stop
the disease that our parents and grand parents had – none. Add to this treatment
vacuum the fact that the recession leaves Americans with lower personal savings and
a near-bankrupt healthcare system that is ill-prepared to manage the coming
Alzheimer’s explosion. It should come as no surprise that Americans are telling their
representatives to find answers to this problem before it is too late.”
According to the survey, voters nationwide and across the political spectrum believe:
Alzheimer’s is a personal and national priority.
• 76 percent of voters nationwide say it is personally important to find a cure for
Alzheimer’s and 77 percent believe it is personally important to prevent
Alzheimer’s disease. Sentiment is similar across party lines.
• 79 percent want Congress to make it “a national priority” to speed up the
FDA’s review process for therapies that slow, halt or reverse the disease.
FDA review policy on Alzheimer’s should reflect this priority.
In the past, the FDA has accelerated its review programs for life threatening
diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer in order to bring urgently needed therapies to
patients without sacrificing safety. The survey suggests that American voters now
support the same priorities for Alzheimer’s therapies.
• 47 percent of voters nationwide think the FDA should make all possible
Alzheimer’s treatments available and allow patients and doctors to decide
about risks and benefits, and another 28 percent believe promising drugs for
Alzheimer’s deserve the same priority status and fast track review by the FDA
as promising drugs for other life-threatening diseases.
• A minority of 15 percent think the FDA should continue to use current
procedures of delaying a therapy until it is determined to be completely safe.
Without treatment breakthroughs, Americans cannot cover the cost of Alzheimer’s
• 56 percent of voters nationwide said that they are not confident that they
would be able to cover the cost of long-term Alzheimer’s care if they or a
loved one were diagnosed, with over a third (35 percent) saying they are not at
all confident about covering the cost.
Financial assistance will be needed to pay for Alzheimer’s.
• 72 percent strongly favor expanding Medicare coverage to include
Alzheimer’s therapies and services in non-traditional settings like the patient’s
• 71 percent strongly favor tax deductions for long term care insurance.
• 68 percent strongly support allowing parents under 65 who have been
diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to be claimed as dependents by their children.
• 63 percent strongly support tax incentives to caregivers whose parents have
American voters across party lines are ready to make Alzheimer’s drug review an
issue at the polls.
• 63 percent would be more likely to vote for a political candidate who is in
favor of urging the FDA to speed up their review of therapies that will slow or
reverse Alzheimer’s. Forty-nine percent would be less likely to vote for a
candidate who came out against urging the FDA to speed up their review of
therapies that slow or reverse Alzheimer’s.
“Congressional efforts such as The Senate Subcommittee on Aging, as well as FDA
leaders, have worked with the Alzheimer’s community very closely in recent years to
explore a national response,” commented Perry. “But the lack of real voter demand
has allowed these initiatives to lag. That so many voters across the country and
across the political spectrum now see Alzheimer’s as a priority may mean that this
disease finally has the kind of momentum that our leaders must respond to.”
About the Survey
Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint designed and administered this
survey, which was conducted by phone using professional interviewers. The survey
reached a total of 2,600 likely voters. The survey was comprised of a base sample of
1,000 likely voters nationwide, oversamples of 600 likely California voters, 500
likely Connecticut voters and 500 likely Michigan voters. In the combined totals,
respondents in the California, Connecticut and Michigan oversamples were weighted
down to reflect their actual proportion in the population. The survey was conducted
from June 3 – 14, 2009.
Telephone numbers were drawn from a random digit dialing (RDD) sample. Data
were weighted slightly by gender, party identification, age, education, and region to
reflect the attributes of this universe. The margin of error for the full sample is +/-
ACT-AD is a coalition of more than 50 national organizations representing patients, providers, caregivers, consumers, older Americans, researchers, and employers seeking to accelerate development of potential cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.