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Easing the Burden of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Posted: March 26, 2014

A panel of leading experts representing different sectors of the health care community met to discuss the significant and underestimated burden psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have on patients, the health care system and economy, and the impact medical innovation has on reducing these burdens. The forum was co-hosted by the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and the Society for Women’s Health Research in conjunction with the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in Denver, Colorado.

During the past century, medical innovation has allowed millions of patients to live longer, better and healthier lives. For the more than 125 million people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis around the world, however, there is still a need for new treatment options and improved access to effective treatments for this patient population.

“Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are complex, life-long illnesses which are associated with significant co-morbidities and carry a substantial burden,” said Lars Ettarp, president of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations. “These diseases are closely interlinked and very complex, and it is important that health care professionals have a wide variety of effective treatments available. Even more importantly, patients need to have access to proper care.”

The panel, moderated by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest’s cofounder and vice president, Robert Goldberg, MD, featured several leading figures in the health care community, including:

“We have learned during the past half century that treating disease is the greatest source of economic and social equality the world has ever seen,” said Robert Goldberg, MD, cofounder and vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. “The time has come to apply those hard-won lessons to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis by increasing treatment, diagnosis and access to therapies that require the least amount of burden on individuals and promote the greatest amount of health and wellbeing for society.”

“Although some progress has been made against treating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, much work lies ahead, especially in many countries where access to physicians to obtain a correct diagnosis and treatment is limited,” said Christine Carter, MD, vice president of scientific affairs of the Society for Women’s Health Research. “Organizations like the Society for Women’s Health Research play a critical role in establishing effective tools that foster the development of programs that provide support for patients and their families.”

The panel discussed the benefits of having sound policies in place across the globe that make innovations widely available to patients in various countries and cultures, noting the need for government involvement and investment in medical research and development.

“Today, society faces a number of challenges that adversely impact medical advances, such as the high costs of research and drug development, rigid regulatory policies and reimbursement hurdles that can prohibit important, disease-altering treatments from reaching those who need them most,” said Tomas Philipson, PhD, Daniel Levin professor of public policy studies in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy at The University of Chicago. “We have made great progress, but there is more that needs to be done. We must continue the momentum we have started and work together to create a world without psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.”

The panel also addressed that since 2009, psoriasis associations and medical societies worldwide have been working to get the World Health Organization (WHO) to acknowledge psoriasis and recognize it as a serious noncommunicable disease, as well as the substantial economic burden it poses on the patient and society.

“Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis must be recognized by both global and national health authorities, but unfortunately these diseases and their effects are often ignored and overlooked,” said Kathleen Gallant, secretary of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations. “It is critical that health authorities, such as the World Health Organization, recognize psoriasis as the serious disease it is, and that people with psoriasis get access to the care that they need and deserve.”

You can read more about IFPA, members and activities on at www.ifpa-pso.org.