Ray Reyes

All eyes on PH on psoriasis inclusion in free health care

July 13, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 1097 views

300K Pinoys affected by disease

THE world looks to follow the Philippines’ template on, and its progress in, ongoing legislative efforts towards the inclusion of psoriasis in free primary health care as interest from other countries gains ground.”

This was announced Anakalusugan Rep. Ray T. Reyes upon his return to the country after serving as panelist in the recently concluded International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) Forum held in Singapore.

Reyes spoke about the Philippine legislative experience of introducing a Psoriasis Bill, its importance on the future of people afflicted with psoriasis, and how it contributed to strengthening primary care and health reform by way of its inclusion in covered afflictions under the UHC Law.

“Psoriasis is a lifelong autoimmune disease that has no cure yet and affects the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos nationwide. It is painful, chronic, and leaves them prone to worse medical conditions, including psoriatic arthritis, cardiometabolic syndrome, and depression,” the lawmaker said.

According to Reyes, aside from productivity, the disease also “carries with it a level of social stigma that impairs psoriatic patient’s ability to interact with society. Thus, the heavy impact, albeit indirect, to the overall economy.”

The 2016 Global Report on Psoriasis shows that the “prevalence of psoriasis in countries ranges between 0.09% and 11.43%, making it a serious global problem with at least 100 million individuals affected worldwide.”

In the country, Psoriasis Philippines estimates that the actual number afflicted by the disease can go as high as “one or two percent of Filipinos,” which means one or two million of our total population live with the disease, and consequently, its health complications as well as the social stigma surrounding it.

Data from the Department of Health, however, indicate that there are 300,000 Filipinos afflicted by psoriasis.

Even with a conservative estimate from the aforementioned studies conducted by the Health Research and Development Information Network (HERDIN), a more recent survey done by Novartis in 2022 shows that, even with the smaller sample size provided, the proportional rate with which it is projected is quite alarming.

Novartis’ study shows a direct monthly cost of P2.63M in economic burden, P30.3M per month in indirect costs due to employment status change, P88M per month indirect cost due to work impairment, an approximate 159 thousand with psoriasis earning only Php 8,000.00 per month and 81 thousand people afflicted by the disease failing to find gainful employment.

“Government must address this with urgency. It must be covered by PhilHealth so that people living with psoriasis can go back to productivity,” said the Anakalusugan Partylist solon, as he urged his colleagues in Congress to support the measure.