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Pharma firms form coalition on aging

Pfizer, Novartis and J&J have partnered with companies from other industries to form the Global Coalition on Aging

Pfizer, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson (J&J)  have partnered with companies from other industries to form the Global Coalition on Aging in an effort "to provide leadership, research and advocacy to help nations and industry advance sustainable solutions that address the unprecedented demographic transformation already underway."

Joining the pharma companies as founding members of the Coalition are the dermatologic products manufacturer Galderma, the life insurance provider AEGON, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the technology company Intel, the medical nutrition company Nutricia and the health insurance firm Universal American Corp. Deloitte Consulting is serving as an advisory member.

The group will also be open to new membership from "global corporations committed to developing innovative solutions, driving policy changes and shaping the aging debate on a global stage, both within their organisations and externally." The Coalition will have its executive base in New York City and will be funded by membership dues.

Michael W Hodin, managing director at the strategic positioning firm High Lantern Group and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, will serve as the Coalition's executive director.

The Coalition's work will focus largely on shifting public policy to help people remain engaged and productive as they age.  In 2011, the group intends to develop and release a strategic plan focused on social and policy changes in the areas of education and work; financial planning and security; health and wellness; and technology, innovation and biomedical research.

The plan will be shared with business and government leaders, the group said. However, the Coalition will not lobby governments.

In the area of health and wellness, the Coalition will work to encourage investment in treatments for noncommunicable disease related to aging, including dementia and sarcopaenia, which is characterised by age-related loss of muscle.

The group eventually will undertake research intended to help develop "a comprehensive and systemic understanding of aging." To begin with, the focus will be on surveying existing economic, demographic and policy research that is available publicly or from member companies.

The Coalition was formed to respond to the fact that there will be two billion people over the age of 60 in the world by 2050. In the US, the number of people over 65 will double from 40 million to 89 million by 2050, according to statistics provided by the Coalition.

The Coalition said its work will be driven by the philosophy that people benefit from staying as active and engaged as possible as they age and by "an optimistic view" of the social and economic impacts of an aging population.

27th January 2011

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