Today’s guest blog comes from Leah Howard, JD, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy for the National Psoriasis Foundation, where she oversees all advocacy, government relations, and policy initiatives for the organization. She brings more than a decade of public policy and federal affairs experience working with national health and disability organizations, local governments, and leading health care and research institutions.
What would you buy with $25,764? That’s the estimated annual expenses for each person with psoriasis in the United States, according to a new study. The total costs for the 7.5 million Americans with psoriasis combined are upwards of $135 billion annually.
- Direct costs, including the treatments and doctor’s visits, could be as much as $8,000 per person annually.
- Indirect costs, such as missed work, were upwards of $4,000 per person annually—or as much as $35.4 billion for the entire nation.
- Easing the negative physical and emotional burden of psoriasis costs $11,498 per person.
Why is treating psoriasis so important?
Psoriasis increases a person’s risk for developing other chronic health conditions known as comorbidities. The annual costs of coping with these comorbidities, such as heart disease, diabetes and depression, are nearly $5,000 per person. Studies show that treating psoriasis can reduce heart attack and stroke risk.
Additionally, psoriasis has a profound impact on quality of life and emotional wellbeing. People with psoriasis are twice as likely to be depressed. They’re also more likely to have suicidal thoughts and low self-esteem. Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory arthritis that can be disabling if left untreated.
People who effectively manage their psoriasis report higher quality of life, less absenteeism at work and greater work productivity.
Everything we do at the National Psoriasis Foundation focuses on improving the health of people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Our advocacy efforts work to increase federal attention on psoriatic disease and to ensure people can access the treatments and medical specialists they need.
At the federal level, we engage with members of Congress and work in coalition with other organizations. Among our initiatives is to build support for the Patients’ Access to Treatment Act (PATA), which would lower out-of-pocket costs for biologic and systemic drugs.
Through our state efforts, we work to address insurance practices that pose a barrier between patients and the therapies recommended by their physicians – including step therapy and out-of-pocket treatment costs -- so people can best manage their condition. We plan to launch initiatives in 20 states next year.
Building support from the ground up