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Leo Pharma hits the streets for psoriasis anti-stigma campaign

Leo Pharma wants to destigmatize psoriasis. Its latest awareness campaign for the autoimmune skin condition will use videos, animations and infographics to try to shift societal perception. The global effort “Change the View” launched on World Psoriasis Day on Oct. 29, but it’s just the beginning of the larger effort.

Leo’s perspective is that the problem is the way people with psoriasis are unfairly treated and judged.

“For many people living with psoriasis, feelings of loneliness, lack of self-esteem or even depression are just as much a part of the condition as the clinical appearance of psoriasis on the skin,” a Leo Pharma spokesperson said via email.

ut the “campaign is built on the hope that this can change,” Leo notes in its news release.

Along with #ChangeTheView hashtagged social media posts, Leo created “vox pop”—or voice on the street—videos for the campaign website. The videos ask people, some of whom do know someone with psoriasis, what they know or think about the disease.

One young man says, “I would imagine that you have to be a bit older. You probably have to be in the parent target group or something like that to get it.” Another woman asks, “Is that something you catch or something you’re born with?”

Psoriasis affects 125 million people worldwide, and Leo found in one study that 94% of psoriasis sufferers said the condition impacts their social life, causing embarrassment, low self-esteem and an increased prevalence of depression.

The vox pop videos continue with people noting that education is important and talking about their loved ones’ experience with the emotional effects of psoriasis. “My wife felt like she didn’t want to see people and stayed home most of the time,” one man said.

“The target group is the general public, where we believe there is a gap in awareness of stigma in relation to psoriasis, but we of course believe that the messages appeal to and resonate with patients as well,” the spokesperson said.

In 2018, Leo Pharma bought Bayer’s prescription dermatology business after previously buying Astellas’ dermatology portfolio. It recently won FDA expanded approvals in plaque psoriasis for Enstilar and Taclonex. Leo’s pipeline includes one psoriasis treatment and four eczema candidates.