Pharma giant Pfizer, the maker of the blockbuster drug Viagra, announced recently that it would no longer continue to investigate medications for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. While there has been very little progress on drugs to treat Alzheimer's related dementia and Parkinson's disease, the fact is that these two neurodegenerative conditions affect millions of patients nationwide and globally. While drug companies often are hesitant to put time and money into the development of drugs for "orphan" diseases that don't impact many patients, this move, to halt research into two conditions that are prevalent and on the rise is significant.
A statement from the company explained that the goal was to "reallocate spending across our portfolio, to focus on those areas where our pipeline and our scientific expertise is strongest." While recent political measures have allowed corporations the freedom to plow tax cuts back into research, Pfizer has chosen to take those benefits and use them to buy back stock from investors. Pfizer has indicated that they will be establishing a "Neuroscience Fund" later this year that will be strictly earmarked for research into dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, however, it's not known yet what kinds of efforts that fund will cover.