The World Health Organization said it expects the number of dementia patients to triple from 50 million to 152 million by 2050 as the global population ages.
"Nearly 10 million people develop dementia each year, 6 million of them in low- and middle-income countries. The suffering that results is enormous. This is an alarm call: we must pay greater attention to this growing challenge and ensure that all people living with dementia, wherever they live, get the care that they need," Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, said in a statement.
According to the United Nations body, the estimated annual global cost of dementia is $818 billion, equivalent to more than 1% of the global gross domestic product. By 2030, the cost is expected to have more than doubled, to $2 trillion.
While clinical trials to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease have experienced more failures than successes, the biopharmaceutical industry soldiers on with the research.
Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, which is characterized by the progressive loss of memory and other cognitive functions. While there is no cure for Alzheimer's yet, the pharmaceutical industry has been fighting an uphill battle to get a drug in the market, spending billions of dollars in failed trials in the process.