Millions earmarked for dementia as experts warn of looming disaster

Despite cuts in healthcare spending, the government has earmarked €32.5m to spend on researching dementia over the next four years, following warnings of a looming national disaster.

The money has been allocated to scientific research with the aim of developing drugs to deal with the problem, which affects a growing number of elderly people.

According to the Volkskrant, experts are predicting a national disaster if no drug against Alzheimer is found. Some 250,000 people are currently suffering from the disease and 35,000 die every year from its effects.


Philip Scheltens, director of the VU university medical centre, who has drawn up the dementia plan, predicts that number will double by 2040.

Junior minister Martijn van Rijn has said a ‘considerable contribution’ towards the research budget will have to come from industry. ‘A storm is approaching, the dykes need to be raised and the government cannot do this on its own,’ he said.

Universities, the PGGM pension fund manager, Rabobank, health insurers and companies such as Philips and Nefarma have already pledged to participate, news agency ANP reports.

According to the Volkskrant, the total bill for the Dementia Delta Plan – a reference to the massive flood prevention scheme introduced after the 1953 disaster – will be €200m over eight years. Of this, around half will have to come from private sources.

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