Psoriasis impacts more than the skin—it often takes a toll on a patient's psyche. Besides dealing with the characteristic red and scaly rash, patients can suffer from embarrassment, anxiety, depression, social isolation and stigma.
Barcelona, Spain-based Almirall, which markets dermatological medicines, wants to shine a light on that often-hidden side of the disease in its new campaign, “Shedding Light on Psoriasis.”
More than 88% of patients diagnosed with psoriatic disease say it impacts their emotional well-being, Mercedes Diz, Almirall's commercial operations director, said, citing a 2012 study.
“That’s a huge number,” said Diz. But another statistic drives home the need for the campaign: 1 in 3 people think psoriasis is just a disease of the skin, she said.
She said patients often face a “vicious cycle” where stress triggers flare-ups that can fuel more anxiety and stress.
For instance, 43% of patients saw their disease worsen during the pandemic, she said, likely due to a combination of added stress and treatment delays during lockdown.
Almirall launched the campaign, which includes a PSA and website, on Oct. 29 to coincide with the International Federation for Psoriasis Association's World Psoriasis Day, part of that organization’s “United – Now act” initiative, which aims to change the perception of the condition.
The company has been promoting the campaign through digital ads and on social media under the hashtag #SheddingLightOnPsoriasis.
“Beyond the skin, there’s a human being, and we need to have an impact there,” added Diz, explaining her company’s holistic approach to supporting patients.
The pharma company collaborated with Happify Health earlier this year on “Claro,” a digital wellness program for people with chronic diseases, and also launched a study to see how its monoclonal antibody drug tildrakizumab (marketed as Ilumetri) could improve the overall well-being of psoriasis patients.
The latest campaign comes as Almirall prepares to launch its newest psoriasis drug in January, the topical cream Wynzora, after picking up commercialization rights in Europe from MC2 Therapeutics last February.
The drug won FDA approval in the U.S. in July 2020 and now has marketing authorization in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the U.K. as well as in Austria under the name Winxory, the company said.
Rounding out the company’s psoriasis portfolio are Ilumetri, an IL-23 inhibitor licensed from Sun Pharmaceuticals, and the immunomodulator Skilarence.