Almirall shows scale of Klisyri awareness challenge, finding 85% of patients are unaware of disease

Almirall has identified a barrier to growth of its actinic keratosis (AK) drug Klisyri. Most, 85% in fact, of people are unaware of the condition and unlikely to get their skin checked by a professional, facts the company is aiming to change through its second annual AK Global Day.

Last year, Almirall ran the first edition of the initiative to raise awareness of the fact that a rough, scaly patch on the skin may be AK, an early warning sign of squamous cell carcinoma. For the second edition of AK Global Day, the company surveyed more than 2,500 people aged 35 years and up. Volker Koscielny, Almirall's chief medical officer, explained the rationale for running a survey. 

“We decided to focus AK Global Day 2023 on raising awareness of actinic keratosis and the importance of regular skin checks, both at home and by professionals, so we thought that finding out the degree of knowledge about the disease and people's habits regarding their skin was key to designing an impactful campaign,” Koscielny said via email to Fierce Pharma Marketing. 

The survey of people in Spain, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S. found that 85% of respondents were unaware of AK, despite the skin condition affecting an estimated 13% of the European population. AK is more prevalent in older people, affecting 25% of individuals aged over 50 years, because it is caused by cumulative exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds. 

Almirall also asked how often people get their skin checked by a professional. Most, 58%, of respondents said they never get their skin checked by a professional. Almost one-third of people don’t check their skin at least once a year to find signs of suspicious marks and lesions. The situation varies from country to country.

“Whereas in Germany 56% of people have ever got their skin checked by a professional, in the United Kingdom, only 14% have. We hope that all these data help [the] general population, physicians and public health professionals realize how important it is to talk more about AK and incorporate skin checks as standard health procedures,” Koscielny said. 

Almirall stands to benefit from greater awareness of AK. The FDA approved the topical AK drug Klisyri late in 2020, and its European counterpart followed suit in mid-2021. Sales hit (PDF) 9 million euros ($9.6 million) last year. Almirall is on course to top that figure this year, generating sales of 4.7 million euros in the first quarter, and is working to secure an expanded label that could give it access to more patients.