CANBERRA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The taxpayer cost of treating Alzheimer's in Australia could hit 14 billion US dollars by 2025, a report detailing the economic impact of the condition has shown.
The Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056 report was commissioned by Alzheimer's Australia and found millions Australians would be affected by the condition by 2056 without a national Alzheimer's strategy.
It also said that, per person, the average annual cost of the disease was 27,600 US dollars, and if government continued to ignore the condition, the cost could hit as much as 14 billion US dollars by 2025 and even more by 2056.
Alzheimer's Australia president Graeme Samuel said the report was alarming and needed to be used as a "wake-up call" to the government to form a national dementia strategy.
"In the absence of a medical breakthrough, more than 6.4 million Australians will be diagnosed with dementia in the next 40 years at an (overall) cost of more than 750 billion US dollars," Samuel told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Wednesday.
"If we could reduce the number of people with dementia by just 5 percent, that would lead to savings of 4.4 billion US dollars from now until 2025."
Dementia is already widely regarded as Australia's second leading cause of death and Samuel said lawmakers needed to heed the warning and begin funding a national strategy to help improve diagnosing and treating the condition.
"Despite the social and economic impact, we still do not have a fully-funded national strategy to provide better care and outcomes for people who are living with dementia now," Samuel said.
"If we don't do something now, the cost is going to continue to grow to unsustainable levels."