Our position on brain health

Brain health – a global priority

At Lundbeck, we see brain health as being fundamental to good health across the life course of individuals. It does not simply imply the absence of a disorder, but also includes the ability for those living with a brain disorder to thrive, and those who don’t have a diagnosis to pursue health and wellbeing.

The world is increasingly relying on “brain capital”, where a premium is put on brain skills and brain healthᶦ (e.g. individual’s cognitive, emotional, and social brain resources). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), brain health focuses on areas of brain functioning such as cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioral, and motor domains, and should be considered on a wide spectrum from wellbeing to disorders and disabilityᶦᶦ.  

 

We take a holistic approach to brain health and understand the importance of both promoting brain health and preventing brain disorders. Diagnosis of brain disorders, and access to timely and appropriate treatment are also crucial. Although we primarily focus on providing innovative solutions in the treatment and care of brain disorders, we work across this broad spectrum with our partners to advance better brain health outcomes for all. 

~50%

It is estimated that brain disorders directly affect about half of the world’s populationᶦᶦᶦ

Up to 10%

The cost of brain disorders is estimated to equal 10% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP)ᶦᵛ.

 

 

Neurological disorders alone are a leading cause of disability, the second-leading cause of death globallyᵛ (accounting for 9 million deaths per year) and a primary driver of healthcare costsᵛᶦ. With the world population rapidly growing older, the burden of age-related neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, will only increaseᵛᶦᶦ. 

 

In addition, the prevalence of mental health disorders is currently estimated at 970 million peopleᵛᶦᶦᶦ, causing 1 in 5 years lived with disability globallyᶦˣ . What’s more, around 20% (1 in 5) of the world’s children and adolescents have a mental health disorder, with suicide being the second cause of mortality among 15- to 29-year-oldsˣ.

 

Despite our knowledge about the brain, our strong heritage in the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders, and our understanding of those with lived experience, we recognize that significant challenges in brain health and neuroscience still remain.

Neuroscience is insufficiently rewarded - progress requires a more innovation-friendly environment

 

The brain is arguably the most complex organ in the human body. However, we do not yet fully understand it, and know little about how brain disorders developˣᶦ. Neuroscience research is more costly, takes longer and fails at a higher rate than most other types of scientific researchˣᶦᶦ. But with brain disorders sharply on the increase, it is now more important than ever to continue to prioritize neuroscience. Despite significant progress, the road to uncover cures and treatments for brain disorders is still a difficult one. As such, we need to remove the barriers that are restraining neuroscience innovation and foster an environment that prioritizes research to fully unlock the complexities of the brain. 

 

We believe this is a joint responsibility. Commitments in and investments from both the public and private sectors can collectively foster an innovation-friendly environment in which neuroscience and brain health will thrive. 

 

The earlier and more we invest in brain health, including neuroscience, the better outcomes we will see. This should include basic scientific research, but also translational research where transformative discoveries can be brought closer to those who need them most. 

 

At Lundbeck, our research and development programs are focused solely on the brain, and we reinvest approximately 20% of our annual revenue into neuroscienceˣᶦᶦᶦ. 

We seek to advance our understanding of the biology of brain disorders, which will allow us to discover transformative new approaches.

As we continue to advance neuroscience and deliver transformative therapies, we recognize our innovations are meaningless if people can’t access them. Through a variety of programs and efforts, we work to reduce the burden of access and proactively engage with key decision makers to ensure value assessments are based on real-world evidence, include the voice of those with brain disorders and support innovative solutions.

Brain health is under-prioritized – the patient voice should be empowered, and unmet needs should be addressed

Socio-economic determinants of health, such as poverty, discrimination or conflict, have a negative impact on brain healthˣᶦᵛ. Addressing inequalities on brain health will require action on many fronts and holistic interventions at societal level with collaboration across different disease areas and organizations. Focusing on better data and knowledge sharing is also important to advance brain health. 

We aspire to see brain health being prioritized in the same way physical health is

We work with our partners across the world to make sure more financial and humanistic resources are dedicated to brain health and its associated disorders. 

 

Many of the currently available treatments for brain disorders are symptomatic and not curative, and date from the 1980s and 1990sˣᵛ. This offers little hope and limited outcomes for those living with a brain disorder. Innovative treatments are key in providing a better quality of life and regaining opportunities thus also benefiting society at large. We partner with advocacy organizations and medical societies to positively influence the regulatory and policy environment so that novel treatments for brain disorders can reach more people faster. 

 

It is of utmost importance to include people living with brain disorders, addressing the unmet needs they experience and bring these to the attention not only of researchers and scientists, but also of policy makers and funders to foster brain health. We strive to empower the voices of people living with brain disorders through our capacity building programmes, giving the community the tools and support they require to strengthen their share of voice. 

 

On a wider scale, we strive to operate as a sustainable business in line with the Environmental, Social and Governance goalsˣᵛᶦ and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goalsˣᵛᶦᶦ to support the reduction of socio-economic determinants of brain health. 

Stigma is a big barrier to brain health - this should be addressed with education and awareness-raising campaigns.

Stigma affects the understanding and perception of brain health and its associated disorders, which has negative consequences on access to care and treatment, and on the way brain health is prioritized. Measures seeking to reduce stigma should be a core component of broader strategies that emphasize freedom from discrimination, human rights, and social inclusionˣᵛᶦᶦᶦ. 

 

According to WHO, stigma on mental health disorders is a major cause of discrimination and exclusionˣᶦˣ. 

 

With regards to stigma within neurological disorders, a 2020 survey found that 92% of the respondents feel affected by stigma because of the disorder they live withˣˣ . Although significant progress has been made, stigma remains a big issue. 

At Lundbeck, we are committed to reducing stigma on brain health.

We want to normalize discussions about brain health and its associated disorders, and bring those to policy makers, to healthcare settings, to patient communities and to the society as a whole.

 

To address this, we collaborate with the patient advocacy and the medical communities on a series of initiatives. These include global awareness-raising campaigns on brain health promotion and stigma reduction, and in-depth educational campaigns targeted at policy makers and healthcare professionals. We strive to do as we preach and are taking proactive steps to ensure we promote brain health in the workplace and remain an equal-opportunity and supportive employer for those with brain disorders. 

Lundbeck’s commitment

At Lundbeck, we are wholly committed to restoring brain health and supporting people impacted by brain disorders. Our business activities, advocacy community engagement, and interactions with policymakers and non-governmental organizations are guided by clarity of purpose: we are tirelessly dedicated to restoring brain health, so every person can be their best.

 

 

Downloads

Position On Brain Health (PDF, 491 KB)

Brain Health Infographic (PDF, 610 KB)

Brain Facts Infographic (PDF, 630 KB)

ᶦ Smith, E., Ali, D., Wilkerson, B. et al. A Brain Capital Grand Strategy: toward economic reimagination. Mol Psychiatry 26, 3–22 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00918-w

ᶦᶦ World Health Organization. Brain health. Taken from the internet December 2020: www.who.int (https://www.who.int/health-topics/brain-health#tab=tab_2)

ᶦᶦᶦ Data manually taken from Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 (GBD 2019) Data Resources using the GHD x tool by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington

ᶦᵛ Markham, Henry (2013) “Seven challenges for neuroscience” Functional Neurology, Volume 28, Issue 3. Taken from the internet July 2022: https://www.researchgate.net/ (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258058806_Seven_challenges_for_neuroscience)

ᵛ Abolfazl, A., Stroke and dementia, leading causes of neurological disability and death, potential for prevention, Alzheimer’s & Dementia, The journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, Volume 17, Issue S10 (2021), https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.049370

ᵛᶦ Feigin VL, Vos T, Nichols E, et al. The global burden of neurological disorders: translating evidence into policy. Lancet Neurol. 2020;19(3):255-265. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(19)30411-9

ᵛᶦᶦ Global, regional, and national burden of diseases and injuries for adults 70 years and older: systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease 2019 Study BMJ 2022; 376. doi:10.1136/bmj-2021-068208

ᵛᶦᶦᶦ World Health Organization. Mental Disorders. Taken from the internet July 2022: www.who.int (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders)

ᶦˣ World Health Organization. Mental Health. Taken from the internet July 2022: www.who.int (https://www.who.int/health-topics/mental-health#tab=tab_1)

ˣ European Federation of Neurological Associations. Results of EFNA’s Survey on Stigma and Neurological Disorder. Taken from the internet August 2021: www.efna.net (https://www.efna.net/survey2020/)

ˣᶦ Neuroscience at the Allen Institute, 5 unsolved mysteries about the brain. Taken from the internet April 2022. www.alleninstitute.org ( 5 unsolved mysteries about the brain)

ˣᶦᶦ Tufts Centre for the Study of Drug Development, CNS Drugs Take 20% Longer to Develop and to Approve vs. Non-CNS Drugs, Impact Report 2018, September/October, Volume 20, number 5. Taken from the internet July 2022: https://www.globenewswire.com/ (https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/09/11/1569156/0/en/CNS-Drugs-Take-20-Longer-to-Develop-and-38-Longer-to-Approve-vs-Non-CNS-Drugs-According-to-the-Tufts-Center-for-the-Study-of-Drug-Development.html)

ˣᶦᶦᶦ Lundbeck. Year in Review. Taken from the internet March 2022: www.lundbeck.com (Year in review [lundbeck.com])

ˣᶦᵛ Patel V., et al., The Lancet Commission for global mental health and sustainable development, Lancet (2018); 392: 1553–98, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31612-X (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30314863/)

ˣᵛ Markham, Henry (2013) “Seven challenges for neuroscience” Functional Neurology, Volume 28, Issue 3. Taken from the internet July 2022: https://www.researchgate.net/ (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258058806_Seven_challenges_for_neuroscience)

ˣᵛᶦ Lundbeck. Year in Review. Taken from the internet March 2022: www.lundbeck.com (Year in review [lundbeck.com])

ˣᵛᶦᶦ United Nations, The 17 GOALS. Taken from the internet April 2022: https://sdgs.un.org/ (https://sdgs.un.org/goals

ˣᵛᶦᶦᶦ Patel V., et al., The Lancet Commission for global mental health and sustainable development, Lancet (2018); 392: 1553–98, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31612-X (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30314863/)

ˣᶦˣ World Health Organization, WHO Europe, The European Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020, Taken from the internet July 2022: WHO/Europe | Home (https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/280604/WHO-Europe-Mental-Health-Acion-Plan-2013-2020.pdf)

ˣˣ EFNA survey on stigma and neurological disorders, 2020, accessed July 2022: https://www.efna.net/survey2020/

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