The general public is calling for more research on Alzheimer’s disease, a new survey by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, carried out to investigate whether current research ties up with public concerns and NHS priorities, has revealed.

The survey of over 2,000 respondents found that, while cancer and heart disease are at the top of the list of priorities, with 72% and 33% of the votes, respectively, Alzheimer’s was third in line, with 11% of the public requesting greater national health spending and 12% more research, according to the Association.

“Alzheimer’s disease and dementia cause anxiety and distress to some 700,000 people in the UK and their families and friends…[and]…the survey that we’ve conducted shows that people want both the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry to makes this condition a priority”, said Richard Barker, the ABPI’s director-general.

But he went on to point out that there are currently 258 medicines being assessed for AD around the globe, and that scientists from the UK are involved in 9% of these, as well as the development of 33 medicines for heart disease and 312 to treat various forms of cancer.

“It is positive news for patients that there is such alignment between public desire, government action, academic research priorities and industry investment into these major illnesses,” Barker remarked.

State of the nation
However, the ABPI is calling on the government and other stakeholders to work with it to produce an annual ‘state of the nation’ report to help keep the public up-to-date on clinical research being undertaken in the country, after the survey revealed the need for clearer information on progress being made in this area.

“There is a clear role for industry to work in partnership with government to ensure greater public understanding of developments in both prevention and treatment of the major health priorities facing all of us in the UK,” Barker stressed.