The global psoriasis community is at a historic crossroads

Written by Lars Ettarp on 26 September 2016 in Thought Leader
Thought Leader

The EU can play a key role in improving the lives of psoriasis sufferers, argues Lars Ettarp.

Lars Ettarp | Photo credit: IFPA

The global psoriasis community is at a historic crossroads.

With the World Health Organization (WHO) recently voicing its unanimous support for worldwide action on psoriasis, the opportunity to help 125 million psoriasis patients is now greater than ever.

At the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) we are maintaining this momentum by building a psoriasis coalition. The question for EU policymakers is: Are you ready to join the initiative?


In recent years, we have seen some of the most inspiring developments ever in the history of psoriasis advocacy. Psoriasis is a severe chronic non-communicable disease with no known cure. Sufferers endure painful physical symptoms including itching, bleeding and inflammation.

They also risk developing psoriatic arthritis or other diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As a result, psoriasis takes a high toll on an individual’s mental and emotional health, sometimes even leading to suicide.

The disease carries high societal and economic price tags – not least through spiralling healthcare costs. In a historical milestone, the WHO recently passed its first-ever psoriasis resolution and followed this up with the publication of a Global Report on Psoriasis.

Scientific research has also taken significant strides: never before have so many psoriasis treatments been readily available or underdevelopment. Leading world policy-makers are also joining the fight to address the needless suffering caused by psoriasis.

Therefore I strongly urge MEPs and the European Commission to take action. It really is time for psoriasis to receive worldwide recognition and action in line with the WHO’s resolution.

As the foremost global organisation for psoriasis patients, IFPA is leading a psoriasis coalition supported by the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, whose most important missions include serving as advocate of patients with skin diseases.

With the WHO resolution and the Global Report in hand, we are now better equipped than ever to shine a spotlight on psoriasis, raise awareness and garner political support.

Policymakers can take a range of concrete steps to support the psoriasis coalition, by speaking up about psoriasis on Facebook or by tweeting your support via the #PsoActNOW hashtag. Why not join us on 29 October to celebrate World Psoriasis Day through #WPD16.

At national level, we recommend policymakers focus on healthcare improvements. Psoriasis sufferers should be correctly diagnosed as early as possible, and have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.

Discrimination forms a big problem too. By supporting awareness campaigns and anti-discrimination legislation, you too can help ensure no patient needs to face bullying or exclusion.

I would also like to thank Celgene, LEO Pharma and Novartis Pharma AG as well as the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology for their support.

The WHO has taken the first step. We are taking the next. Will you as an MEP help improve the lives of 125 million psoriasis patients across the world?

The World Health Organization Global Report on Psoriasis can be found at

For more information on joining our coalition, please visit or contact IFPA’s Executive Director at

About the author

Lars Ettarp is President of IFPA, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations

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