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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Camp David, Maryland)
For Immediate Release                                      July 16, 2000

                       STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Earlier this week, we learned that there has been exciting new progress in our quest to understand the root cause of and to possibly prevent Alzheimer's disease. In the absence of successful efforts to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease, the number of our citizens afflicted with this devastating condition will more than triple over the next 50 years - from four to 14 million Americans.

Today, I am pleased to announce that the National Institutes of Health, through the National Institute on Aging, will dedicate $50 million to new research on the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease, with a particular emphasis on the development of a vaccine to prevent the disease. This research, which builds on the encouraging findings reported this week at the World Alzheimer's Congress 2000, provides new hope not only for Americans who are at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in the future, but for those who are already in its early stages.

It is more clear than ever that the nation must continue its strong bipartisan support for biomedical research on the causes, treatments, and cures for Alzheimer's disease and other diseases affecting millions of Americans. Our public investment has and will continue to yield extraordinary advances in treatment. However, these treatments will not be available or affordable to millions of older Americans and people with disabilities if the Congress does not pass a meaningful Medicare prescription drug benefit this year.

I am pleased that there is growing bipartisan support for a real Medicare drug benefit - not a flawed private insurance model. Just as we have worked in a bipartisan manner to support biomedical research, we must do so for a long overdue Medicare prescription drug benefit.