Our Access to Health initiatives, donations and awareness-raising of psychiatric and neurological disorders represent key contributions to addressing health as a human right.
Lundbeck agrees that businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights and to act in accordance with internationally applicable standards, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights. At Lundbeck, we are committed to address human rights concerns if they arise as a consequence of our own actions or the actions of our suppliers.
Human rights considerations are addressed in several of Lundbeck’s policies that relate to different stakeholders. For instance our Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct set out the principles for respecting the rights of patients and participants in clinical trials. Our Purchasing Policy includes respect for human rights in relation to our suppliers and partners (page 6).
We believe that respecting human rights and promoting Access to Health are inextricably linked.
Sharing knowledge and supporting initiatives to promote Access to Health
People living with psychiatric and neurological disorders experience significant barriers to health. The lack of safe and effective medical treatment is one barrier, which Lundbeck is trying to address through the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of medical products. In this way Lundbeck creates value for patients, society and our owners.
However, healthcare professionals, patients and their families experience several other barriers to health. These include limited understanding of the biology behind the diseases, poor diagnosis, stigma and discrimination. Many of these barriers relate to the lack of knowledge or application of knowledge.
As a specialised pharmaceutical company we have an obligation to use our voice and share our knowledge about unmet needs in the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Our involvement with patients and advocacy groups underlines the meaningful impact we hope to have for people living with these disorders. Their perspectives inspire everything we do. By engaging with patients and their families we gain a better understanding of the needs they have. It is our responsibility to apply this understanding toward the development of new therapies and support programs.
During 2015, we acted on our commitment to promote Access to Health and engaged in a range of local activities where we operate. Most often our engagement is a combination of financial and knowledge support to existing or new initiatives. A few examples include:
- Donation of chemical compounds to promote independent research taking place at universities and other institutions. These compounds may have potential effects on new diseases to which no treatment have yet been found. This may lead to the development of new compounds, which in the long-term may have the potential to become a target for developing new treatments
- Continued support and participation in ‘Target the impact of depression in the workplace’. This initiative is guided by executives from major European employers alongside international organisations working on health, labour and employment issues. The output is concrete tools and resources that will enable businesses to better manage depression in the workplace, identify and support employees at risk of depression and promote good workplace mental health
- Donation to the Danish Centre for Suicide Research. It is known that severe depression that is not treated correctly can lead to suicide, but more knowledge about the causality and prevention is needed in society. Lundbeck’s donation will be used for research to suicide prevention by generating new knowledge about the factors that protects and stress people who have tried to commit suicide
- Continued support to ‘Connect for mental health’ a US nationwide initiative that calls for communities to prioritise serious mental illness. The campaign encourages greater collaboration among the mental health community and other community-based organisations for instance emergency services, law enforcement and public housing. Overall the aim is to implement local programs and services that help support Americans living with serious mental illness, their families and the communities in which they live
- Sponsoring of Bike4Cure who organised the world’s first bike stage race Tour Parkinson in Denmark to illustrate the positive effects of exercise and raise funds for research. Lundbeck organised two events for our Danish employees where Lundbeck’s latest research results within Parkinson’s disease were presented and the participants tried exercises that help reducing the symptoms a person with Parkinson experience. Several Lundbeck employees also supported Tour Parkinson by participating in one of stages
- Upon request from a US-based organisation, we provided a grant to support medical education to healthcare professionals outside the US on cognitive dysfunction related to Major Depressive Disorder. The educational programme comprises scientific knowledge and is not product related in any way. Lundbeck's contribution is strictly financial and we have no influence over the programme, presenters or participants
New global guideline for donations
The examples mentioned above fall in two categories: Donations and sponsorships. The main differences between them are that donations do not provide the donor any benefit in return for the provided support and the donor has no influence on how the support is used. It is important to distinguish for ethical reasons and because these activities are regulated by legal requirements and industry codes.
As part of our strategy to promote Access to Health, we initiated the implementation of a global guideline to ensure that donations are reviewed, documented and provided in a transparent manner and in accordance with applicable regulations. Training of relevant persons will be conducted in the beginning of 2016. We will continuously monitor the provisions of donations and sponsorships and from 2016 onwards, we will publicly disclose information about the provided support.
The UN global compact human rights principles
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
Principle 2: Businesses should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses