On June 18, 2016, over 40 IFPA member organizations gathered in Lisbon for the annual informal member meeting! The morning provided a perfect chance for reconnecting with old acquaintances and meeting new friends. A series of interactive workshops then allowed members to develop new insights on psoriasis advocacy.
Workshop 1: Back to Basics summarized IFPA’s current key functions, after which small groups discussed what the organization should focus on in the future. Members felt they would like to receive translated IFPA promotion material, get feedback on IFPA-attended scientific conferences, target psoriatic arthritis issues more in-depth and advocate intensely within the World Health Organizations. Discussions also raised the possibility of existing members “adopting” another country to help set up new psoriasis organizations and recruit volunteers.
During Workshop 2: Advocacy Toolkit Part 1, the Danish advocacy organization Last Mile illustrated the importance of getting psoriasis on the national health agenda. Both the increasing global focus on NCDs (non-communicable diseases) and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals provide a real window of opportunity to achieve this. Reminding governments of their commitment to the WHA67.9 Resolution is a crucial tool as well.
Finally, Swedish Professor Mona Ståhle presented new psoriasis treatments in the pipeline. The message was positive: huge strides have been made in the past two decades by closely monitoring treatment effects in patients and experimenting with different treatments. Today, only a small minority of psoriasis cases are extremely hard to treat. Prof. Ståhle is currently looking forward to results of a Norwegian case study on biosimilars, expected to be published in autumn 2016.