Bayer HealthCare joins forces with Stroke Alliance for Europe

BayerAhead of the "Move for Health Day" (10 May) and the "European Stroke Day" (14 May), the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) and Bayer HealthCare jointly raise their voices that society cannot afford not to prevent cardiovascular diseases. As the worldwide leading cause of death, the consequences of cardiovascular disease are immense. Cardiovascular disease has no geographic, gender-based or socioeconomic boundaries. It has an enormous impact on a country's economy and its prevention is now recognised as an urgent public health need. Cardiovascular disease is on the rise and expected to account for 23.6 million deaths annually by 2030.

"The most prevalent cardiovascular diseases are coronary heart disease and stroke," said Jon Barrick, chief executive of the Stroke Association, during the debate initiated by SAFE and Bayer HealthCare. "A stroke can have a major and lasting impact on people’s lives, not just for survivors, but also their families. It also places a significant strain on our healthcare systems. Much more must be done at policy level to address this serious public health threat."

Kjetil Gaarder, who suffered a stroke at the age of 33, is now a member of the Executive Board of the Norwegian Association for Stroke Survivors. He pointed out: "In the future, organisations such as SAFE will play an increasing role in giving patients a voice. A key contribution is the networking with national stroke organisations, governments and stroke research institutions."

"Improving the health outcomes of those affected by cardiovascular disease is of the utmost importance," remarked Dr Frank Misselwitz, Head of Therapeutic Area Cardiology and Coagulation at Bayer HealthCare. "However, it will require everybody to work together: Patients, healthcare professionals, policy makers, non-governmental organisations and industry. None of us can achieve this alone."

Joachim Heisters, a cardiologist running a surgery in Germany stated: "Primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases needs interdisciplinary diagnostics especially in the fields of cardiology, diabetology, and nephrology. In addition to that, doctors' offices require more resources to offer sustainable health-coaching to patients."

Dr Lieven Annemans, Professor of Health Economics at the University in Ghent, declared: "Europe should invest more in cost-effective prevention of cardiovascular diseases".

About the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE)
SAFE is a non-profit-making organisation that represents a range of patient groups from across Europe whose mutual goal is to drive stroke awareness, prevention and research funding up the European political agenda. SAFE aims to prevent stroke-related death and disability throughout Europe, by raising awareness of the link between stroke and hypertension as well as other important contributing risk factors. SAFE advocates for increased funding for stroke research, which is notoriously low compared to other health conditions with similar societal impact. By partnering with several European research consortia, SAFE gives patients a voice and helps to ensure current research best meets the needs to stroke patients and their families.

About the Bayer HealthCare International Press Dialogue
The Bayer HealthCare International Press Dialogue series was established in 2010 to promote face-to-face dialogue between thought leaders from around the world. Focus of the discussions are important societal topics related to medical research as well as healthcare issues.The Dialogue series addresses international experts from patient groups, medical organisations, politicians and press representatives.

About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 18.6 billion (2012), is one of the world’s leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare’s aim is to discover, develop, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 55,300 employees (Dec 31, 2012) and is represented in more than 100 countries.