Milestone psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis legislation introduced in Congress
Millions of Americans seek cures for these chronic autoimmune diseases
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 26, 2011)—Federal investment and research into psoriasis, the nation's most prevalent autoimmune disease, affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans, and psoriatic arthritis, a related joint condition affecting up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis, received significant advances with the introduction of psoriatic disease legislation in Congress today.
The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Research, Cure, and Care Act of 2011 (PPARCCA), championed by the National Psoriasis Foundation and its advocates, highlights the seriousness of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and advances the nation's efforts to cure these diseases. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the bill in the Senate and Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.-6th) introduced it in the House of Representatives with support from Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas-20th).
"This is a bipartisan, common-sense approach to advancing groundbreaking research, which could provide relief to millions of Americans coping with the profound physical and mental health effects of psoriasis," Gerlach said. "I am pleased to work with my House colleagues and the National Psoriasis Foundation on solutions that will reduce the estimated $11.25 billion per year health care cost burden attributed to psoriasis."
Psoriasis is a chronic, genetic disease of the immune system that appears on the skin. People with psoriasis are at increased risk for other serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. Psoriatic arthritis, which affects an estimated 1 to 2 million people in the U.S., causes pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints.
In 2009, for the first time, Congress allocated $1.5 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch the first national psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis data collection effort. The newly introduced legislation allows the CDC to continue this project, examining prevalence rate, age of onset, natural history of the disease and associated health risks, among other factors—all of which will help unlock mysteries surrounding these diseases and may lead to better treatments and a cure.
- Authorizes $1.5 million to be appropriated to the CDC for each fiscal year from 2012 through 2017 for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis data collection;
- Recognizes psoriasis as a serious autoimmune disease and identifies the connection between psoriasis and a range of associated diseases;
- Encourages the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work with the National Psoriasis Foundation and other stakeholders on convening a multidisciplinary meeting to discuss future directions of research into psoriasis and its associated health risks;
- Suggests that the meeting's organizers share with the public, Congress and relevant policymaker/research groups a report on its findings;
- Encourages NIH to consider developing a virtual "center of excellence" to share and leverage information on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis across disciplines, and to emphasize integrated psoriatic disease research.
"While we know more about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis than ever before, many unknowns remain. Federal data collection is an important step to closing the gap between what we know and what we don't know," said Randy Beranek, National Psoriasis Foundation president and CEO. "The first $1.5 million to study psoriatic disease at a national level was a landmark achievement. This legislation builds on that momentum and brings us closer toward a cure."
"Having psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis creates tremendous financial, physical and emotional burdens for millions of Americans," said Rick Seiden, chair of the Psoriasis Foundation Board of Trustees. "As an individual with psoriatic arthritis who is greatly concerned about patients' risk for other serious diseases linked to psoriasis, I am proud that Congress recognizes these negative impacts and the need for collaborative research and increased funding."
Nearly 200 people affected by psoriatic disease will advocate in Washington, D.C., on June 7 with the National Psoriasis Foundation to urge lawmakers to co-sponsor this important legislation.
Ask your member of Congress to support Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Research, Cure, and Care Act of 2011 >
About the National Psoriasis Foundation
National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world's largest organization serving people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Our priority is to provide the information and services people need to take control of their condition, while increasing research to find a cure. In addition to serving more than 2.1 million people annually through our health education and advocacy initiatives, NPF has funded more than $13 million in research grants and fellowships. Visit us online at www.psoriasis.org or call 800-723-9166. Follow NPF on Facebook and Twitter.