New Report Identifies Need for More Effective Policy Responses and Investment to Prevent Strokes in Europe


PRINCETON, N.J. & NEW YORK, N.Y., October 29, 2020 – The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a division of The Economist Group and a leader in global business intelligence, today released a new independent report, sponsored by The Bristol-Myers Squibb–Pfizer Alliance, indicating current stroke prevention investment may be insufficient to further decrease rates of stroke in Europe.1The EIU No Time for Silence: Exploring Policy Approaches to Investment in Stroke Prevention in Europe report findings suggest that despite reductions in stroke rates and improvements in preventative measures, the absolute number of strokes is increasing in most European countries due to an expanding and rapidly aging population.1 According to the report, more effective policy responses and investment in prevention activities are needed to help further prevent strokes.1 The publication of this report on World Stroke Day provides an opportunity to shed light on this issue.

The report is based on surveys and in-depth interviews from December 2019-January 2020 with more than 250 senior executives from healthcare policy and payer organizations (public and private), patient advocacy groups and the healthcare workforce across five major European countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – to better understand variations in European policy. Respondents were equally represented across the five countries, with all engaged in work that involves prevention and management of stroke and/or the financing of services to prevent or manage stroke.

Although the surveys and in-depth interviews took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the considerations in the report around policy and investment efforts for preventing stroke have become even more relevant during the pandemic. Given the rapidly changing landscape, the report findings further reinforce the need for more investment into stroke prevention.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of healthcare around the world, urgent conditions like stroke have been especially impacted as a concerning pattern of reduced acute stroke admissions has emerged,”2 said Prof. Michael Brainin, President, World Stroke Organization. “This decrease in admissions may be preventable with appropriate action and we hope that this research will elevate the urgent need for policymakers to be more active and involved in the funding of prevention, diagnosis and management of stroke.”

This new report builds on a previous EIU report from 2017 sponsored by The Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance, Preventing Stroke: Uneven Progress, and provides a deeper analysis of stroke prevention efforts in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The key findings of the new report include:1

  • 60% of survey respondents as a whole noted that government funding in stroke prevention is lacking to prevent admissions to emergency hospital departments in the long term; however, only 39% of respondents from Italy, which frequently emerges as an exception, shared this view.
  • 71% of respondents do not think that many people understand the impact of stroke, emphasizing the need for government funding and support for education and awareness initiatives.
  • Only 39% of all respondents believe the latest clinical guidelines for managing people at risk of stroke are being “mostly” or “entirely” implemented. Lack of funding from national authorities and a lack of understanding of key stroke risk factors are the largest barriers to implementation, according to respondents.
  • As the uptake of digital tools like apps and smart watches to detect and monitor stroke risk factors rise, many respondents feel more digital investment and support from the government is important for future stroke prevention. 71% of survey respondents agreed, saying mobile and/or digital health apps provide them with useful data to help support stroke prevention although 48% say they do not always have time to look at the data from them to support decision-making.

“While we have seen improvements in stroke prevention in many countries, the number of individuals suffering from strokes is still high,”1 said Rory O’Connor, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Internal Medicine Medical Affairs at Pfizer. “This report suggests European countries may be able to more effectively help control the future burden of this disease by dedicating additional resources to expand the impact of their efforts across Europe and reach at-risk populations. The Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance is proud to sponsor work like this from the EIU that continues to show the importance of stroke education and detection.”

“As an alliance, our goal is to meaningfully help reduce the number of strokes through increased education and early detection of stroke risk factors,” said Veronica Lee, M.D., Vice President, Worldwide Medical, Cardiovascular and Established Products, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Having the support of local and national government officials to help drive this health initiative is a key component of this work.”

The Alliance will host a webcast for EU policymakers, researchers, advocacy organizations and media on Wednesday, November 4 at 9 a.m. EST / 3 p.m. CET to discuss the importance of stroke and stroke prevention, while highlighting key findings from the report, which are particularly relevant now as the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. To join the webcast, please visit

About The Economist Intelligence Unit research initiative

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer sponsored the No Time for Silence: Exploring Policy Approaches to Investment in Stroke Prevention in Europe report conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a world leader in global business intelligence and the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. The report considers policy and investment efforts around best practices for preventing stroke including resources for education, awareness and detection. To better understand variations in European policy, the research has been conducted across five major countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. For more information and/or to access the research, please visit

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Pfizer Collaboration

The Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer Alliance is committed to driving education and awareness about atrial fibrillation and venous thromboembolism. With long-standing cardiovascular leadership, global scale and expertise in this field, the Alliance strives to implement global, research-driven approaches to illuminate and address the unmet needs around strokes related to non-valvular atrial fibrillation, which are often fatal or debilitating.3 Through collaborations with non-profit organizations, the Alliance aims to provide patients, physicians, and decision makers with the information they need to understand and take appropriate action on risk factors associated with stroke and other cardiovascular conditions.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb, visit us at or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

About Pfizer Inc.: Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at In addition, to learn more, please visit us on and follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer_News, LinkedIn, YouTube and like us on Facebook at


1 “No Time for Silence: Exploring Policy Approaches to Investment in Stroke Prevention in Europe,” The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2020. 

2 “The Global Impact of COVID-19 on Stroke - Survey Report from Prof. Marc Fischer, WSO President-Elect,” World Stroke Organization, 2020.

3 Ben Freedman, Tatjana S. Potpara, and Gregory Y H Lip, "Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation," The Lancet 388, no. 10046 (2016): doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(16)31257-0.



Multimedia Files:

Categories: Press Releases