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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 - and believe that as part of this, mental health is a universal right. 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 health (e.g. individual’s cognitive, emotional, and social brain resources)1. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), brain health focuses on areas of brain functioning such as cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioural and motor domains, and should be considered on a wide spectrum from wellbeing to disorders and disability2.


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.


It is estimated that about half of the world’s population will develop a mental health disorder3

Up to 10%

The cost of brain disorders may soon equal 10% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP)4.

Neurological disorders alone are a leading cause of disability, the second-leading cause of death globally (accounting for 9 million deaths per year)5 and a primary driver of healthcare costs6. With the world population rapidly growing older, the burden of age-related neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, will only increase.7


In addition, the prevalence of mental health disorders is currently estimated at 970 million people8, causing 1 in 5 years lived with disability globally9. 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-olds9.


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 recognise that significant challenges in brain health and neuroscience still remain.10

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 develop11. Neuroscience research is more costly, takes longer and fails at a higher rate than most other types of scientific research12. But with brain disorders sharply on the increase6, it is now more important than ever to continue to prioritise neuroscience. Despite significant progress, the road to uncover innovations 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 prioritises 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. 

We seek to advance our understanding of the biology of brain disorders, which will help us with our goal of discovering transformative new approaches.

As we continue to advance neuroscience and deliver transformative therapies, we recognise 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-prioritised. 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 health13. Addressing inequalities on brain health will require action on many fronts and holistic interventions at societal level, with collaboration across different disease areas and organisations. Focusing on better data and knowledge sharing is also important to advance brain health.

We aspire to see brain health being prioritised 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 1990s4. Innovative treatments and management strategies are key in helping to provide better quality of life and regaining opportunities thus also benefiting society at large. We partner with advocacy organisations and medical societies to positively influence the regulatory and policy environment to advance the care of patients with brain disorders.


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 goals14 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals15 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 prioritised. Measures seeking to reduce stigma should be a core component of broader strategies that emphasize freedom from discrimination, human rights, and social inclusion13.


According to WHO, stigma around mental health disorders is a major cause of discrimination and exclusion16.


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 with17. Although significant progress has been made, stigma remains a big issue.

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

We want to normalise 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 patient advocacy groups 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 organisations are guided by clarity of purpose: we are tirelessly dedicated to restoring brain health, so every person can be their best.

1. Smith, E., Ali, D., Wilkerson, B. et al. 2021. A Brain Capital Grand Strategy: toward economic reimagination.Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00918-w [Accessed October 2023]

2. World Health Organization. Brain health. 2022. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/brain-health#tab=tab_2 [Accessed October 2023]

3. McGrath, J. J, et al. 2023. The Lancet Psychiatry, 10(9), 668-681.

4. Markram H. 2013. Funct Neurol. 2013;28(3):145-151.

5. Abolfazl, A.. 2021 Stroke and dementia, leading causes of neurological disability and death, potential for prevention, Alzheimer’s & Dementia. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.049370 [Accessed October 2023]

6. Feigin VL, et al. Lancet Neurol. 2020;19(3):255-265. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(19)30411-9

7. GBD 2019 Ageing Collaborators. BMJ. 2022 Mar 10;376.

8. World Health Organization. Mental Disorders. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders [Accessed October 2023]

9. World Health Organization. Mental Health. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/mental-health#tab=tab_2 [Accessed October 2023]

10. Newcastle University, Centre for Transformation of Neuroscience. Available at: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/research/transformative-neuroscience/ [Accessed October 2023]

11. Neuroscience at the Allen Institute, 5 unsolved mysteries about the brain. Available at: https://alleninstitute.org/news/5-unsolved-mysteries-about-the-brain/ [Accessed October 2023]

12. 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,Available at: 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 [Accessed October 2023]

13. Patel V., et al., Lancet (2018); 392: 1553–98. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30314863/ [Accessed October 2023]

14. Lundbeck Annual Report 2022. Available at: https://www.lundbeck.com/content/dam/lundbeck-com/masters/global-site/pdf/Annual_Report_2022.pdf [Accessed October 2023]

15. United Nations, The 17 GOALS. Available at: https://sdgs.un.org/goals [Accessed October 2023]

16. World Health Organization, WHO Europe, The European Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020. Available at: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241506021 [Accessed October 2023]

17. European Federation of Neurological Associations. Results of EFNA’s Survey on Stigma and Neurological Disorder. 2020. Available at: https://www.efna.net/survey2020/ [Accessed October 2023]

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UK-NOTPR-1668 | October 2023