Pfizer, one of the world’s largest drug companies, announced over the weekend that it would stop work on new drugs to fight Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The reason? Pfizer believes that research on the two diseases doesn’t make sense financially.
“Our overall R&D spend remains the same at this time and is at the high end of our industry peers. This was an exercise to re-allocate [spending] across our portfolio, to focus on those areas where our pipeline, and our scientific expertise, is strongest,” Pfizer said in a statement.
Gizmodo asked Pfizer how much the company was spending annually on research to combat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s but Pfizer replied that it doesn’t break down its R&D numbers by therapeutic area.
The United States spent roughly $259 billion on health care expenses related to Alzheimer’s disease alone in 2017, with Medicare and Medicaid covering about 67 percent of that money. But even that whopping number hasn’t persuaded Pfizer to stay in the race to find a cure.
Pfizer, which posts revenue of over $50 billion per year, is expected to lay off about 300 people in Massachusetts and Connecticut in the move away from neuroscience discovery and early development research.
“We are thankful for the contributions of our colleagues who have supported our neuroscience portfolio and are committed to supporting them during this transition.”
Update, 1:40pm: A representative for Pfizer reached out to Gizmodo and emphasized that that the company is not abandoning this research because it was “too expensive” but rather because Pfizer is “re-allocat[ing] spend across our portfolio, to focus on those areas where our pipeline, and our scientific expertise, is strongest.” Which really seems like a way to spin the fact that they don’t think they can make much money on it.