A COMMITTEE in the House of Representatives approved on Tuesday a bill that would institutionalize a national psoriasis care program in the Philippines. 

The House Committee on Health approved House Bill 9821 or the National Psoriasis Care Act, which was authored by its chair Quezon Rep. Angelina “Helen” D.L. Tan.  

Ms. Tan said in her sponsorship speech that the measure would address the “unmet needs” of Filipinos suffering from psoriasis and make treatment for the disease more equitable and affordable, especially for indigent sectors.   

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes red, itchy, and scaly patches. With increasing severity, it could also be associated with cardio-vascular diseases, increased risk of mortality, and shorter life span.  

The measure would establish a National Psoriasis Care and Control Program that would serve as the national framework of psoriasis-related activities of the government.  

The measure also calls for setting up a Psoriasis Assistance Fund to support the program, where donations for the fund will be exempted from any taxes. The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. will also expand its benefits packages to include screening and treatment for all types and severity of psoriasis.  

People with psoriasis will be considered as persons with disabilities under the proposed law.  

According to latest data from the Global Psoriasis Atlas, psoriasis affects an estimated 1.5% to 2% of Filipinos. — Russell Louis C. Ku