Psoriasis appeared on the agenda for EB 133 (May 2013) without any note as to how it got there. 

The Secretariat report (B133_5-en.pdf) provides an overview of psoriasis, still with no account of how it came to be on the agenda. 

In the course of EB133, a draft resolution, entitled 'World Psoriasis Day', appeared and was discussed under this item.  This draft resolution had not been posted in the papers for the EB. Resolution (EB133.R2) was adopted after some discussion

See PHM Report and Comment on the discussion.

World Psoriasis Day is sponsored by the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations which is supported by, among others, Pfizer, Novartis, Lilly, Leo, Celgene and Abbvie. Furthermore, 22 of the 42 member associations with active websites (13 June 2013) acknowledge drug company support on their websites (including Abbvie, Leo, Janssen, Pfizer, Abbott, Ducray, La Roche-Posay, Pierre Fabrie Dermatologie, Janssen-Cilag). At least one national association receives drug company support of several million USD per year.

The Psoriasis Association (UK) (whose representative spoke under the banner of the International Association of Patients Organisations, IAPO) is supported by grants from AbbVie, Dermal Laboratories Ltd, Forest Laboratories Ltd, Galderma (UK) Ltd, LEO Pharma, MSD and T&R Derma. IAPO also receives extensive support from pharmaceutical companies, individually and through the IFPMA. 

PHM believes that WHO's de facto endorsement of an event planned and organised by an organisation such as the IFPA, which is funded and promoted by the pharmaceutical industry, contravenes WHO’s stated position regarding engagement with non-state actors.

The WHO has a legitimate role in raising awareness regarding psoriasis, in promoting access to treatment and in harnessing research capacity towards finding better remedies. However, WHO’s endorsement of the World Psoriasis Day cannot be seen as an appropriate way to pursue these objectives.

It is reasonable to speculate that the involvement of drug companies in supporting the IFPA (and its member associations) and their support for World Psoriasis Day are part of a marketing strategy directed to expanding the global market for their products.

Drugs for treating psoriasis are among the top revenue-earning drugs in the world. Three of these – adalimumab (marketed by AbbVie as Humira), etanercept (marketed by Pfizer as Enbrel), and infliximab (marketed by Janssen as Remicade) – have been identified by Forbes in 2012 as being among the top ten revenue earning drugs ever. The combined sales of just these three products was US$ 25 billion. These high revenues have, in large measure, been sustained by IP protection and monopoly pricing. All these drugs are extremely expensive and are therefore inaccessible in LMICs; on average, a year’s treatment with any of these drugs cost about $20,000. These drugs are also key to the healthy profit margins of the companies involved; Humira sales accounted for 51.7% of the revenues of AbbVie in the first quarter of 2013.

Following the EB PHM wrote to DG expressing concern about the origins of the resolution and the reputational risks to which the EB was exposing WHO.  See PHM letter (130712) to DG here. At the most recent edit of this page (130801) no reply had been received. 

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