Tackling inequality in psoriasis

Today's post comes from Erin Huntington, VP of International Corporate Affairs at Eli Lilly and Company

At European level, policy on psoriasis has stalled. We teamed up with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) last autumn, to find out what was holding things back. Newly launched, results from this research show the lack of action from governments to improve care for those living with psoriasis since the 2014 World Health Organization Resolution on psoriasis.

Encouraging policy action to address the psoriasis challenge’, commissioned by Eli Lilly & Company explores what it’s like to live with psoriasis in Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Academics, clinicians, patient groups and patients were interviewed to determine if diagnosis and care of psoriasis is equally accessible across Member States, if integrated care is widely delivered, and if people with psoriasis feel like they are being heard.   

Inequalities in access to both government support and effective treatment for psoriasis were determined by a framework developed by the EIU to be of critical concern. The lack of support to manage the mental, as well as, physical health burden of the disease, and its growing economic impact, was also found to be in need of urgent attention.

Psoriasis is associated with depression and anxiety, and can increase social exclusion, as well as impact on ability to work and access to schooling. Psoriasis also shares risk factors with other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Furthermore, according to David Trigos, Vice President of Europso and representative at Acción Psoriasis, Spain, waiting times mean it takes about two years for people in his country to receive a psoriasis diagnosis and medical care.

We all know progress can’t be made simply by pointing out what’s going wrong – we need to come up with solutions. ‘Encouraging policy action to address the psoriasis challenge’ is a call for change in the way that psoriasis is perceived and managed.

The report details ways the psoriasis community and health decision makers can collaborate to reduce the burden of psoriasis on patients and our healthcare systems, and scale up what’s working.

It was encouraging to learn about the centres of excellence for patient-centred care (including psychological care) in certain European countries, which are better-equipped to deal with the multi-faceted implications of a person being diagnosed with psoriasis. The great efforts made to establish a Global Psoriasis Atlas and the recently established psoriasis registries will provide the basis for evidence-based policies in psoriasis care.

These initiatives are already making a difference, but as shown by the EIU report, they are not reaching all people in need. The results of the report spotlight the inaction from governments, whilst offering practical solutions that could be implemented to improve and support change to the status quo for people living with psoriasis.