Financial Burden and Ineffective Treatment Hamper Malaysian Psoriasis Patients

KUALA LUMPUR, October 31 – Financial burden and ineffective treatment pose the biggest challenges when it comes to treating psoriasis in Malaysia, according to a recent survey conducted by the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA).

The results of the survey, which was conducted in Malaysia, South Korea and Hong Kong in August 2022, were released yesterday on the occasion of the 2022 World Psoriasis Day (WPD) celebration organized by the Psoriasis Association Malaysia (PAM) at NU Sentral. in Kuala Lumpur.

More than half (53%) of Malaysian respondents identified the financial burden of treatment and medication as a major challenge in treatment, followed by ineffective treatment (49%) and inconvenient or unacceptable waiting time (39 %).

Six out of 10 Malaysian respondents, or 61%, said they faced financial burden due to the cost of treatment, while 21% said they had given up or reduced treatment or borrowed money for treatment.

“The results of the patient survey are consistent with the feedback we receive from our members. Among our members who have been severely affected by generalized skin lesions or autoimmune arthritis symptoms, a class of drugs called biologics is able to provide adequate relief for the majority.

“However, this therapy is not a cure and patients need continuous treatment. Moreover, biological treatment is expensive, and it is estimated to range between RM30,000 to RM50,000 per year,” PAM President Eugene Cross said in a PAM press release yesterday.

Psoriasis is a chronic, debilitating autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects the skin and causes a rash to form along with itchy scaly patches. It can affect the skin and joints, with the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp being common areas of infection.

It is a common chronic, long-term, incurable disease. It can be painful, interfere with sleep, and make it difficult to concentrate.

When it comes to finance, 61% of participants in Malaysia, South Korea and Hong Kong in the IFPA survey said that the lack of insurance coverage, whether private or public, caused them financial difficulties because the cost of treatment is high.

In Malaysia, the cost of treatment only allowed 14% of survey participants to access the latest psoriasis treatment: biologics. This proportion is considerably lower than that of South Korea and Hong Kong, at 37% and 55% respectively.

“These findings underscore the urgent need to improve access to funding for psoriasis patients in this country, as well as the need to classify psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis as critical illnesses under public health insurance plans. and private,” PAM said in its statement.

The IFPA survey of patients with psoriasis included 635 respondents from South Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia, and of the 635 patients, 124 of them were from Malaysia.

The National Registry of Malaysia recorded a total of around 23,800 patients with psoriasis from October 2007 to December 2019. However, the disease is widely believed to affect around 300,000 Malaysians.

The theme for this year’s WPD is “United We Address Mental Health” as mental health is increasingly recognized as an important part of living with psoriatic disease, PAM said.

“The public may not realize that many psoriasis patients are not only physically affected, emotional scarring is common among patients,” PAM Vice President Dr. K. Thiruchelvam said in the PAM press release.

“The combination of the mental health aspect, the financial aspect and the physical symptoms all add up to a patient’s heavy burden. Much remains to be done for psoriasis patients in Malaysia.

“PAM hopes to continue to find long-term solutions with relevant healthcare stakeholders to address the plight of psoriasis patients in our country.”

While officiating the WPD 2022 event yesterday, Fahmi Fadzil, who is defending his seat in Lembah Pantai in the 15th general election, shared a cross-sectional study conducted in 2019 at the Dermatology Clinic of Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar, Kedah, among 174 patients with psoriasis.

The study found that 48% suffered from anxiety disorders, 16.9% had anxiety symptoms and 8.5% were depressed. He concluded that there is a strong association between psoriasis and mental health.

Fahmi stressed the importance of unity when it comes to dealing with mental health. Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, he stressed the need for united action between “government, industry and society” – a pan-national approach.

“I emphasize the importance of being united not only in the context of the battle against Covid-19, but also in addressing the challenges that psoriatic patients face in their daily lives,” Fahmi said in a speech. spoken at the event.

He also condemned the stigma of psoriasis, saying it was one of the reasons why patients in Malaysia do not seek treatment for this debilitating disease.

“Despite recognition by the World Health Organization as a chronic disease, obtaining proper care and treatment for people with psoriasis remains challenging. Due to inaccurate diagnoses, gaps in health services and unmet treatment needs, patients face a lifetime of suffering and disability.

“To make matters worse, many people, due to social stigma and other personal reasons, have not come forward to seek treatment for their condition.”

Fahmi received the Galen Center for Health and Social Policy’s psoriasis white paper from the think tank’s chief executive, Azrul Mohd Khalib, at the event.

“I am delighted that Saudara Azrul is here with us this afternoon. Her Galen Center for Health and Social Policy has produced a groundbreaking report on psoriasis – Lifting the burden of stigma and changing lives,” said MP Hope. from PKR.

“This report asserts, among other things, that with sufficient resources and investments to manage psoriasis, suffering and stigma can be reduced and lives improved. I believe, with the exception of a few updates to the numbers, that the recommendations in this Psoriasis White Paper still remain relevant today, as they were when the report was first launched a year ago. two years.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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