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Congress Presented with Psoriasis Legislation

The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Research Cure and Care Act (PPARCCA) of 2009 (H.R. 930) has been reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Ore.-1st, with Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa.-6th, Todd Platts, R-Pa.-19th and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla.-20th. This comprehensive bipartisan legislation advances the nation’s efforts to find a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, which affect as many as 7.5 million Americans.

Psoriasis is chronic autoimmune disease that causes painful, red patches on the body that often crack and bleed. Up to 30% of those with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain and stiffness in and around the joints. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), psoriasis may cause as much physical and mental disability as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and depression—a fact not commonly recognized by the public.

“The millions of Americans who live with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis deserve our support,” said Congressman David Wu. “This bill demonstrates our commitment to increasing the collaborative research necessary to learn more about the causes of, and treatments for, their conditions. In addition, the National Psoriasis Foundation’s increasing focus on research and data collection will be beneficial to both psoriasis patients and our federal research agencies. By working together, I am confident that we will be able to further understand the connections between autoimmune diseases and other conditions that we may not notice otherwise.”

This bill, first introduced in 2007, calls on the NIH to continue to expand biomedical research on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and urges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to strengthen data collection on the diseases by establishing a patient registry. The bill also calls for a federal summit on psoriasis and a formal report by the Institute of Medicine on access to care.

“We, on behalf of the 7.5 million Americans living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, are optimistic that the 111th Congress will enact PPARCCA into law,” said Sheila Rittenberg, senior director of advocacy and external affairs for the National Psoriasis Foundation. “We are most grateful to Representatives Wu, Gerlach, Platts and Wasserman-Schultz for their leadership in helping advance legislation that will catapult psoriasis research forward to help find a cure.”

Rep. Wu reintroduced the bill two weeks before 100 National Psoriasis Foundation advocates visit with their elected officials on Capitol Hill to urge their support for improved access to care and increased biomedical research funding to find a cure.

Volunteers from 26 states will participate on Monday, Feb. 23, for Capitol Hill Day, the annual two-day event that brings Psoriasis Foundation volunteers to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness among U.S. senators and representatives about the need for a cure. Efforts at past Capitol Hill Day events were instrumental in securing broad bipartisan support for the psoriasis bill.

To learn more about the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Research Cure and Care Act of 2009, visit the National Psoriasis Foundation Web site, www.psoriasis.org.

 

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