ASIF Represented at ACR 2017

In November, 2017, we were represented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, by ASIF volunteer Michael Mallinson.
Michael’s role is to encourage Ankylosing Spondylitis patient organizations who are not members of ASIF to become members, and to encourage the formation of AS patient societies where none exist. In this role, Michael was able to speak to rheumatologists from many countries and particularly those from the Arab world and Latin America, both areas where we do not have any members. As a result of these conversations, we are hopeful of attracting new members from both regions within the next year.

Michael reports that during the poster sessions, there were gratifyingly larger numbers of posters about Spondyloarthritis than the previous year. These covered a large number of topics and some were included on the poster tours. There were also quite a few more of lectures on various aspects of Spondyloarthritis than at the previous meeting.

The Great Debate at ACR was titled “ Switch or Not to Switch”. Speaking for switching was Dr. Roy Fleischmann and against was Dr. Johnathan Kay. Both agreed that biosimilars show little to no clinical differences to the original biologic, which is good news for patients. Dr. Kay argued that biosimilars are only useful if they are of lower cost to the patient and then demonstrated that in the case of the U.S.A., they are not. However, in Europe and other countries they are cheaper to the patient and society and therefore a switch is warranted.

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