CHARLESTON, W.Va., May 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A record 235 new medicines to treat diabetes, one of the fastest-growing diseases in America, are being developed by America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, according to a national report unveiled today in Charleston.
In West Virginia, 11.4% of the adult population suffers from diabetes—a rate that has more than doubled since 1994. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of data from 2006-2008, West Virginia has the highest rate of diabetes in the U.S.
"We released this report in West Virginia because of its alarming rates of diabetes, which unfortunately reflect a trend prevalent throughout the nation," said Ken Johnson, senior vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. "Perhaps the most shocking and disturbing trend is the rise of diabetes among children, which the American Diabetes Association calls 'a new epidemic.'"
Type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to lifestyles, was once called "adult onset" diabetes because it was so rare among children. But as more and more children are increasingly overweight or obese and inactive, the disease is being seen in even very young children. If present trends continue, 1 in 3 American children born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetimes.
"That nation must step up efforts to stop this alarming trend, and at the same time continue its strong commitment to the cutting-edge research that allows diabetes patients to manage their disease and live productive lives," said Johnson.
"Medical advances made over the past several decades have revolutionized how we battle diabetes and its complications. Still, it takes a terrible toll," Johnson added. "This report illustrates the exciting work being pursued by our industry's dedicated researchers on behalf of patients and their families awaiting new treatments and renewed hope."
The report was released at a press conference featuring American TV icon Jerry Mathers, most famed for his role as "The Beaver." Mathers, who suffers from diabetes, works to encourage prevention and calls on those who have the disease to seek proper treatment. Of the nearly 24 million Americans who have diabetes, an estimated six million don't know they have it. Another three million know but are not being treated and thus risk severe complications.
"As a patient who must cope every day with the effects of diabetes, I understand only too well the value of medicines and lifestyle changes," said Mathers, who is national spokesman for the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. Since the launch of PPA in 2005, more than 6.5 million uninsured and financially struggling Americans have found programs that can help them gain access to their medicines, including more than 60,000 in West Virginia.
The new medicines currently in the pipeline, some in early development stages and some awaiting FDA approval, include numerous drugs to treat eye diseases associated with diabetes. New medicines to treat foot ulcers could reduce the need for amputations. Researchers are pushing into new territories that include gene therapy and are working on such treatments as a once-weekly medication similar to a natural hormone critical to blood sugar regulation.
Johnson noted that diabetes not only causes great suffering, but also extracts a heavy economic cost. In West Virginia alone, diabetes costs nearly a billion dollars a year in medical treatment and lost productivity.
Of the medicines listed in the report, 36 have been or will be part of clinical trials conducted in West Virginia. Patients are currently being recruited for clinical trials in Lewisburg, Burnsville and Charleston. Details can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures.
PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $45.8 billion in 2009 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.3 billion in 2009.
PhRMA Internet Address: http://www.phrma.org
For information on stories of hope and survival, visit: http://sharingmiracles.com/
For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: http://www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: http://www.pparx.org
For information on the danger of imported drugs, visit: http://www.buysafedrugs.info
SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America