Kofi Annan and Lundbeck join forces to push depression up the global agenda

The Global Crisis of Depression conference on 25 November in London was opened with a keynote speech by former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan. Over three hundred delegates including key politicians, thought leaders, employers, patient groups from around the world and health care decision makers participated in the conference with the aim of pushing depression up the global health care agenda.

"I am deeply concerned about the human rights violation when hundreds of millions of people are being denied treatment for depression. A global crisis is no exaggeration at all," said Kofi Annan from the stage. 

The conference 'The Global Crisis of Depression – The Low of the 21st Century?' was hosted by one of the most respected news brands in the world, The Economist, and sponsored by Lundbeck. 

"I hope this conference can begin to push depression up the global agenda," said Kofi Annan and continued: "The truth is we do not have a lack of medical achievements. Our challenge is that we have a lack of political result. We have a lack of prioritising the disease".

Minister of State for Care and Support in the United Kingdom, Right Honourable Norman Lamb, took to the stage after Kofi Annan, stressing the urgency for mental conditions to be treated concurrently with physical conditions: "If you have cancer you have the right to see a doctor within four days. If you are a teenager suffering from depression or schizophrenia you do not have any rights. We need to give equal rights to people with mental illness. Not only in rhetoric, but in reality."

Danish Minister of Health, Nick Hækkerup, also addressed this issue: "Equality is an illusion in Denmark. Psychiatric patients do not receive the same care. We need to build a system that treats a broken mind and a broken leg with equal fervour."

In one of the most important panels of the day, the CEO of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for England and Wales, David Haslam, renowned neuroscientist Professor David Nutt and Lundbeck's Executive Vice President of R&D, Anders Gersel Pedersen, provided the audience with stimulating discussion on the need to invest in CNS research and for companies that bring new treatments for depression to the market to be adequately rewarded for the risk and effort involved.

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