Another Way To Fund Alzheimer’s Research

Another Way To Fund Alzheimer’s Research

By Carole Larkin

Pfizer is the pharmaceutical company that makes Aricept, what was the most prescribed drug for Alzheimer’s disease.  Aricept went generic over a year ago. Pfizer also was the pharmaceutical company behind Dimebon; a promising Alzheimer’s drug that made it through phase II clinical trials, but was ultimately abandoned as “not effective”. Research continues on Alzheimer’s drugs at Pfizer and at other drug companies today.

I came across an article in the January- February article of the written by Patricia Barry that caught my interest.  Permit me to quote a few lines from the article.

“Drug market analysts have long speculated on how Pfizer might try and maintain profits after Lipitor- the anticholesterol prescription drug that has earned up to $12 billion annually over 15 years-lost patent protection on Nov. 30. Now they know.

Pfizer has launched an unprecedented campaign to persuade patients to stay with its brand instead of switching to the newer lower-cost generic, atorvastatin. In a controversial move, Pfizer has made deals to stop many insurance plans from covering the generic. Instead the plans will cover only Lipitor and charge patients lower copays- which sounds like a great deal for many consumers.

But for people with Medicare D plans especially, there’s a catch. If a part D plan decides to cover Lipitor but not the generic, enrollee’s will hit the gap (donut hole) faster because only the higher brand price will count towards the limit ($2930 in 2012). Such arrangements will continue until May 31, when more drug makers will be able to market generic versions of Lipitor and competition will cut back prices dramatically. Meanwhile, other blockbuster drugs are due to come off patent in 2012, and experts think that their makers will likely copy Pfizer’s strategy.

Pfizer’s move brought a swift response from the Senate’s Finance committee and Special committee on Aging, which have asked the company for details of its deals with the benefit management companies that serve as middlemen between drugmakers and insurers.”

What if the committees mandate that this strategy can go forward for all prescriptions that come off patent in 2012, only if the profits gained go towards research on Alzheimer’s drugs?

What do you think?


Carole Larkin

Carole B. Larkin is the Geriatric Care Manager for ThirdAge Services, specializing in all forms dementia care. She has a Master of Applied Gerontology degree with a specialty in Aging Services from the University of North Texas.  Carole is a certified specialist in “Best Care” practices by both the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and the National Council of Certified Dementia Specialists  and has worked for the Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

   Carole is a Certified Alzheimer’s Educator and trains home care companies, assisted living communities, memory care communities and nursing homes in dementia care techniques to enable a higher quality of life for persons with dementia and their families.  She has training in mediation skills and works with eldercare attorneys resolving difficult family issues regarding dementia.   

Carole functions as the hub of the wheel of resources available to help families, and makes specific recommendations of the highest quality resources available at every price point, saving time and money for the families who secure her services.

She is a member of the National Association of

, the American Society on Aging,  the Dallas Area Gerontological Society, OWL, the Friends of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center  and Sigma Chi Omega, the national Gerontology Academic Honor and Professional Society.  She has been a Care Manager for more than seven years and has served older adults and their families for over two decades.


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