Pfizer to end Alzheimer, Parkinson research; patients disappointed

17 Jan 2018


Drugs giant Pfizer is ending research into Alzheimer and Parknsons according to reports.

Dr Mikael Dolsten, president of Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development, said in a statement sent to National Public Radio (NPR), ''We recognize the immense disappointment in the broader community, and we share this. At a personal level, many of us have seen first-hand the devastation of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.''

He added that due to recent setbacks, Pfizer's research efforts ''were simply not making the progress necessary to translate into truly transformational therapies for patients.''

According to commentators, the news means the company will likely eliminate 300 positions from its neuroscience discovery and early development programmes, reallocating the money spent on research.

Pfizer officials added in the statement that the company will ''continue to fully support'' development on tanezumab and Lyrica, two treatments that target chronic pain, as also programmes researching rare neurological diseases.

According to commentators, one reason behind the decision seems to be the lack of new drugs that have managed to make it from clinical trials and other research.

In fact, according to a Healthline report last year, there has not been a new Alzheimer's drug in 10 years.

Meanwhile, Allan Hugh Cole Jr, a professor and senior associate dean in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin writes in Fortune, that as a 49 year old living with Parkinson's disease, the decision came as a  disappointment for him.

He writes that Pfizer's decision, did make sense as neurological research requires ''large investments of time and money, talent, patience, and resolve''.

However, on the other hand, the potential for profit is extraordinary if and when new treatment breakthroughs occur. Also many researchers and neurologists routinely recognise that there may be several potentially ''game-changing'' treatments available within the next five years.

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