Lilly and NRAS Launch New Film for RA Awareness Week to Reveal the True Impact of RA

Lilly and NRAS Launch New Film for RA Awareness Week to Reveal the True Impact of RA

PR Newswire

Survey reveals people with RA dont feel the impact of their disease is understood 

Eli Lilly and Company and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), today announced the launch of a new film, called ‘Behind the Smile’, to encourage people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to have an open conversation with their doctor or nurse about how they are truly feeling and how their disease impacts their day to day life. To coincide with RA Awareness Week, ‘Behind the Smile’ aims to increase awareness of the silent struggles, both physical and emotional, that people with RA face on a daily basis as they cope with pain, fatigue and stiff joints and encourage healthcare professionals to listen to what really matters to the individual patient.

The ‘Behind the Smile’ film is launched to coincide with the results from the new survey by Lilly, RA Matters, which reveals a lack of understanding about the true impact of RA. The survey uncovered that many people with RA don’t feel the emotional (60%)[1] or the physical (49%)[1] impact of the disease is understood by those around them. To view the ‘Behind the Smile’ film, please visit

“This short film aims to illustrate what goes on ‘behind the smile’ for someone with RA and what they truly may be thinking or feeling beneath the outward appearance of coping,” said Clare Jacklin, Director of External Affairs, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), UK. “The film aims to encourage those with RA to open up to those around them including family and work colleagues as well as importantly to have an honest conversation with their doctor or nurse about how the disease truly impacts their everyday life so they [the health professionals] can help provide the best care. The film also holds an important message for the health professionals that while clinic appointments are tight on time and they may have their own targets to meet, prioritising what “matters” to the patient can lead to a far better long-term outcome than just managing the symptoms of the disease. Treat the person not the disease!”

Using traditional and social media platforms to recruit respondents, 1,250 people with RA and 65 healthcare professionals were surveyed in the UK to identify what matters most to people with RA in terms of activities, work, personal relationships and aspirations[1]. The survey revealed:

  • Over half of people with RA feel the disease negatively affects relationships in terms of inclusion in family or social events (55%) and quality of time spent with others (52%)[1]
  • 28% of people with RA said that their RA forced them to go on long-term leave or retire and nearly a quarter (23%) felt that their career progression had slowed[1]
  • 50% of people with RA found the difficulty of using their hands and the unpredictability of how they feel are the main challenges to carrying out work[1]
  • The three main barriers which prevented people with RA in the UK from undertaking everyday activities such as housework, exercising and washing/personal grooming were: fatigue (59%), aching and stiff joints (57%) and pain (55%). HCPs underestimated the impact of fatigue on patients by 10 per cent.[1]

“RA Awareness Week aims to help people understand what it’s really like to live with rheumatoid arthritis,” said Dr. Greg van Wyk, Senior Medical Director, Lilly UK. “The RA Matters survey revealed that our lack of understanding of the physical and emotional impact of RA and how it makes people with RA feel still remains a barrier to improving the lives of those living with this disease. At Lilly we want to understand and listen to the challenges that face people living with RA and we are committed to working in partnership with the rheumatology community to help people better manage their disease.”

About Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterised by inflammation and progressive destruction of joints.[2] More than 23 million people worldwide suffer from RA.[3] Approximately three times as many women as men have the disease.[4]

About RA Matters 

6,208 people participated in the RA Matters survey, of which 5,400 were people who had been diagnosed with RA, and 808 were rheumatologists or healthcare professionals (HCPs) that treat RA. The survey was carried out between November 4, 2016 and February 13, 2017, from eight participating countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). The RA Matters survey set out to fill a gap in the existing RA evidence base. The over-arching objective of the survey was to demonstrate the real unmet need in RA. Specifically the survey explored the outcomes and quality of life related areas that are most important, relevant and impactful of patients’ lives.[1]

Using an innovative visual data collection method on a live web platform, the RA Matters survey allowed people to see and compare their results in real time – helping us to bring important RA stories to life. For more information on the RA Matters survey and to explore the findings, please visit

The RA Matters survey was supported and/or informed by the following individuals and organisations:

  • Arthritis Consumer Experts (Canada)
  • The Arthritis Society, Canada (Canada)
  • Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (Canada)
  • AFPric (France)
  • ANDAR (France)
  • ANMAR (Italy)
  • ConArtritis (Spain)
  • Sociedad Española de Reumatología (Spain)
  • National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (UK)

About NRAS  

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) is the only patient-led voluntary organisation focusing specifically on Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). It has become established as the voice in the UK for people with RA and JIA – providing a total network of support, information and advocacy for those affected, their carers and families. NRAS ( ) was founded in 2001 by Ailsa Bosworth – with the support of rheumatologists and fellow RA sufferers – after a long battle through her own diagnosis of RA. NRAS’ mission is to help those with RA or JIA to live life to the full by:

  • Supporting those living with the disease from the start and through every step of their journey
  • Informing and educating – being the first choice for reliable information
  • Empowering all to have a voice and take control of their condition.

About Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY)  

Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.

Lilly has been operating in the UK since 1934 and employs approximately 2,500 people throughout the country working in sales and marketing, research and development and bio-tech manufacturing. Lilly’s research priorities are aligned with significant UK health needs including diabetes, heart disease, mental health and cancer.

To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at


This press release contains forward-looking statements (as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) about Lillys product pipeline and reflects Lillys current beliefs. However, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in the process of pharmaceutical research, development, and commercialization. For further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, see Lillys most recent 10-K and 10-Q filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as may be required by law, Lilly undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements for events occurring after the date of this release. 

Date of preparation: 15 June, 2017



1. Data on File RA Matters questionnaire REF 31954, REF 31955, REF 31956 2017

2. Kahlenberg J and Fox D. Advances in the Medical Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Hand Clinics 2011 February ; 27(1): 11-20. (Accessed: May 25, 2017).

3. World Health Organisation (WHO). The Global Burden of Disease Report, (table 7, page 32) 2004, (Accessed: May 25, 2017).

4. Arthritis Foundation. What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?   (Accessed: May 25, 2017)