Alzheimer's will cost the US $1 trillion: Merck CEO

Alzheimer’s is going to cripple the U.S., if a disease modifying agent isn’t soon discovered, Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) CEO Ken Frazier told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on ‘Mornings with Maria.”

“If you live to 65, there is a 1 in 9 chance of having Alzheimer’s, if you live to 85, it’s a 1 in 3 chance,” according to Frazier, adding that, “Soon, Alzheimer’s will cost [the U.S.] almost $1 trillion.”

Bartiromo asked Frazier if Merck is making any progress at developing a treatment for Alzheimer’s, and he noted that Merck has a late stage study that they are very hopeful that the drug could potentially intervene early enough to make a difference in the spread of the disease.

On Monday, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) announced that it was ending its research efforts to discover new drugs for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Switching topics, Bartiromo asked Frazier if he sees Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) as a potential threat, given its interest in entering the prescription drug business. Frazier pointed out that Amazon is interested in the drug distribution business, while Merck is engaged in drug development. Amazon’s entrance into the drug distribution business could in fact be helpful, depending on how it rolls out.

“The critical issue is how do we get more efficiency in the distribution system, and how do we pass those efficiencies onto patients so they can enjoy the savings and find medicines more affordable,” Frazier told Bartiromo.