Psoriasis bodypainting campaign puts dermatologists 'in their patients' shoes'

  • Canadian dermatologists creatively express the emotional and physical effects of psoriasis at annual conference of the Canadian Dermatology Association
  • Campaign highlights the profound impact experienced by the 1 million Canadians living with psoriasis1
  • Five out of every six patients (84%) surveyed in Canada said they have experienced discrimination or humiliation because of their psoriasis

DORVAL, QC, June 22, 2017 /CNW/ - Canadian dermatologists meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick, this week are going beyond the usual activities of a medical conference. A number of dermatologists are taking part in a unique campaign to help Canadians better understand the perspectives and emotions experienced by their patients living with psoriasis.

The participating dermatologists who are attending the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) annual conference will each have parts of their bodies painted in recognition of the patients they treat who live with the red, scaly rashes of the skin disorder. This will be filmed for a public service announcement to raise awareness of the condition and highlight the emotional and physical impact psoriasis has on the 1 million Canadians who live with the condition. 

The detailed and highly creative bodypainting is being done by performance artist Natalie Fletcher who knows about the profound effect psoriasis can have on someone's life. She has the condition herself and believes an awareness campaign that literally puts the dermatologists 'in their patients' shoes' will help capture people's attention.

"Novartis is committed to helping Canadians with psoriasis overcome the stigma, psychological and social issues that too often accompany the pain and other symptoms of the condition," said Janice Murray, President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. "Dermatologists see first-hand the emotional and physical burden psoriasis places on their patients. We are very proud to be working in collaboration with the CDA, who represents dermatologists across the country, to highlight these realities through art."

Clear about Psoriasis survey2
The extent of the impact of psoriasis on patients' lives is made clear with the results of t
he Clear About Psoriasis Survey launched by Novartis AG in 2016. It is the largest global survey to date of people living with psoriasis, involving more than 8,000 people from 31 countries, including Canada.

Five out of every six patients (84%) surveyed in Canada said they have experienced discrimination or humiliation because of their condition. The most cited events were being stared at in public (46%), being asked if psoriasis is contagious (45%) as well as less common but even more serious events such as having a barber or hairdresser refuse to serve them (12%) and discrimination at work (10%).

The survey revealed the strong feelings that are provoked by having psoriasis. Six out of 10 (58%) said they feel self-conscious of their skin, half (51%) said it makes them feel unattractive and 45% said it makes them feel less confident. While just 13% say the condition has had little impact on how they feel about themselves, one in five (22%) agreed "it has taken over my life."

About psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition that produces red elevated patches and flaking silvery scales. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Psoriasis affects 1 million Canadians and 125 million people worldwide. The most common form is plaque psoriasis, affecting approximately 90% of patients. Up to 30% of patients with psoriasis have or will have arthritis and 5-10% may have some functional disability from arthritis of various joints. Psoriasis is typically seen in adults but can develop at any age. It occurs equally in men and women and across different races. A family history of psoriasis is a leading risk factor. Psoriasis may result from a malfunction of the immune system that produces inflammation and causes skin cells to rise to the surface and shed at an abnormally quick rate – every three to four days in psoriasis compared to 30 days in normal healthy skin1.

About Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field, is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative products to improve the well-being of all Canadians. In 2016, the company invested $48.8 million in research and development in Canada. Located in Dorval, Quebec, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs approximately 750 people in Canada and is an affiliate of Novartis AG, which provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. For further information, please consult   

About Novartis
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 118,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

1 Canadian Dermatology Association, Psoriasis, accessed June 12, 2017 at:
2 Novartis data on file. June 2016.

SOURCE Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

For further information: Novartis Media Relations, Julie Schneiderman, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Communications, +1 514 633-7873, E-mail:; Spectrum Advisors, +1 514 234 4095,

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