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PM calls for action on dementia by drug companies

David Cameron has called for real action by drug companies to tackle what he called one of the greatest enemies of humanity - dementia. The Prime Minister pointed to a market failure, with the launch of only three dementia drugs in 15 years.

ITV News Health Editor, Catherine Jones heard why the lack of new drugs is so distressing:

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David Cameron: 'Important to see dementia as a disease'

David Cameron has reiterated his support for ramping up efforts to find a cure, insisting that it should be seen as a disease, rather than as a "natural sign of ageing".

Speaking on Radio 4's You and Yours, he said: "It’s a disease, like other diseases, that medicine should be really marshalling its efforts to crack and to conquer...I think if all the advanced countries of the world actually get their scientists to focus on this, we can make a difference."

The Government is doubling the funding for dementia research to £66m, but Mr Cameron called on other countries to follow the UK's lead and "to work together" to find a cure.

Read: Finding a cure for dementia needs a global effort

PM's dementia envoy says progress 'achingly slow'

Progress on finding a cure for dementia is "achingly slow", despite the huge cost of the disease, David Cameron's new global dementia envoy has said.

Dr Dennis Gillings called for an effort to fight dementia on a par with that to find a cure for HIV/AIDS, saying: "Dementia is a ticking bomb costing the global economy £350bn and yet progress with research is achingly slow."

"Just as the world came together in the fight against HIV/Aids, we need to free up regulation so that we can test ground-breaking new drugs, and examine whether the period for market exclusivity could be extended," Dr Gillings added.

Read: PM calls for 'urgent development of dementia drugs'

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Jeremy Hunt: Dementia is 'a horrible condition'

Dementia is such "a horrible condition" it has become the disease that most frightens people over the age of 55, the Health Secretary told Good Morning Britain.

Speaking ahead of a conference on dementia, Jeremy Hunt reiterated the Prime Minister's pledge to find a cure for the disease "by 2025" and remained optimistic it could be beaten.

Dementia 'one of the greatest enemies of humanity'

David Cameron will launch a verbal attack on dementia, dubbing the degenerative condition "one of the greatest enemies of humanity".

In a speech at an international dementia conference in London, the Prime Minister will say:

The truth is that dementia now stands alongside cancer as one of the greatest enemies of humanity.

In the UK alone there are around 800,000 people living with dementia, worldwide that number is 40 million - and it is set to double every 20 years.

We have to fight to cure it. I know some people will say that it's not possible, but we have seen with cancer what medicine can achieve.

We first need to tackle head-on the market failure perilously undermining dementia research and drug development.

– David Cameron

PM calls for 'urgent development of dementia drugs'

The Prime Minister will call for more to be done to accelerate the development of dementia medication, in a speech at a conference of experts trying to tackle the disease.

Read: Stars join call for volunteers to become 'dementia friends'

Dementia
Dementia is estimated to cost the UK economy billions as workers leave their posts to care for their relatives. Credit: PA

David Cameron will warn more must be done to address what he sees as a "market failure" on dementia research and drug development.

The Conservative leader's comments come as the UK hosts a major conference on the growing threat posed by dementia, which is expected to effect one in three people over 65.

Last year the UK used its presidency of the G8 to host an international summit on dementia, which ended with experts setting a global ambition to find a cure by 2025.

At the first of the legacy events following the summit, Mr Cameron is expected to pledge a new drive by the UK to discover new drugs and treatment for the condition.

Watch: Tonight: Living with dementia

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