It’s not easy finding an over-the-counter treatment to relieve symptoms of psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation has the Seal of Recognition program which features products that have been proven to be safe and effective for those living with the disease. Currently there are 24 products on the list. Check out this interview I conducted with Courtney Schneider Associate Director of Strategic Alliances for the NPF, to get the scoop on the program and what it takes to join the list.
Alisha: Can You tell me when the Seal of Recognition Program was established and why this program is important to those living with psoriasis.
The NPF: The NPF Seal of Recognition Program was established in 2009. The program is not an endorsement, but it does recognize products that are over the counter products proven to safely and effectively manage psoriasis symptoms. The NPF thought it was important to have this program because we wanted a valid and trusted resource for our patients when they were searching for information about over-the-counter products that help alleviate the signs and symptoms of their psoriasis.
Alisha: What is the criteria to receive this recognition?
The NPF: There is an application process that each manufacturer must go through for each of the products they are looking to receive the seal of recognition for, and this includes providing scientific data from a third party, with test results that demonstrate the product safely aids in the management of psoriasis symptoms. It also needs to be verified that it’s not irritating, does not contain any chemicals or ingredients known to cause irritation in psoriasis patients. As well as provide reporting that the product is no harm to patients and that it can be used in combination therapy, along with other over-the-counter and prescription products.
Alisha: How long does the approval process normally take?
The NPF: With the application process it goes to our panel of reviewers which are leading dermatologists in the psoriasis space and they review the testing results and the application reports that the companies and manufacturer send in. That typically takes 30 to 45 days. Once we hear back from our reviewers, we go to the next step which is to send small samples of the product to identified patient reviewers and they typically have 30 to 45 days to try the product out to give their testimonial and patient feedback on that product… All of the application process and the testing results they [manufacturers] have to provide for the application process they go through a third party company beforehand…
Alisha: Is this recognition only for over-the-counter topical products? I did some research and it seems that topical products are the only type of OTC treatments currently on the list.
The NPF: Correct. Currently the Seal of Recognition only covers over-the-counter topical products.
Alisha: How many products do you currently have in the pipeline waiting to be approved for the Seal of Recognition?
The NPF: Currently right now we have 4 products that are in the evaluation process. We evaluate products on a quarterly bases.
Alisha: How many submissions do you receive each quarter and how many of those are approved or denied?
The NPF: The number of applications/products vary each review period, however a majority of applications are approved. As you can see from our Product Directory most products are from established manufacturers who have proven scientific data demonstrating that their products safely and effectively address the symptoms of psoriasis.
Alisha: How are the panel of dermatologists chosen to evaluate the product?
The NPF: Our panel of dermatologists that review the product are members of the NPF medical board or Americus members of our medical board. So they are vetted experts, and key opinion leaders in the management and treatment of psoriasis. Then we specifically look for providers that are on our medical board that have a great knowledge base on topical and over-the-counter products.
Alisha: How are the patients chosen to evaluate the product?
The NPF: They are patient volunteers for the NPF. They have designated interested through our NPF website, usually through the volunteer interest form. Then they are vetted through our volunteer program as patients that are treating appropriately under the care of a specialist, and that they are familiar with and have extensive knowledge and use of over-the-counter products.