Dementia is too big a problem to walk away from – for Pfizer or any of us | Bart De Strooper

The financial and social costs of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s are devastating. It’s essential that big pharma be part of the effort to end them

If you were to go out on the street today and run a straw poll on big pharma, I doubt that it would come back very positive. More often than not, these companies are seen by the public as corporate behemoths committed only to the bottom line, and not particularly patient-focused. This week’s news that Pfizer is pulling out of neuroscience research will likely bolster that impression. It’s a tragedy for the millions suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the many more who are at risk of developing one of these devastating diseases.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pharmaceutical companies are absolutely crucial in our war against Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and their input, financial muscle and insight hold the key to better treatments and prevention. Dementia, a general term that describes forgetfulness and a decreasing ability to think about and manage everyday mental functions, is one of the toughest medical and economic challenges facing not just the UK but the global population.

Dementia inflicts blow after blow, day after day, on millions of people. So why on earth is Pfizer quitting?

Related: The final stages of dementia: ‘Does he dream about the love that’s still there?’ | Mark Brandi

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