There is no approved treatment to alter the relentless course of Alzheimer’s, and many experimental drugs have failed to slow or halt its progress.
Data presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference this summer revealed that 20 states had provider “deserts” where they were projected to lack sufficient neurologists to treat patients with dementia. The worst-equipped states for the projected burden of dementia in 2025 were Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina and Oklahoma.
The Rand report doesn’t assess the financial impacts of an Alzheimer’s treatment on insurers, patients or Medicare, but shows that even making the drug rapidly available to the right patients will strain the health-care infrastructure if today’s workforce and infrastructure trends continue.
Other barriers — such as insufficient imaging scanners to help diagnose the disease and not enough infusion centers to deliver an IV drug to people — may be easier to rapidly change, because those issues will require investment, but not years of training.