Turning Puffs Into Pesos

Monday, August 14, 2017

Although most cancers are the result of a gradual accumulation of genetic errors, about one in forty cancers is caused by a cellular catastrophe, where the genome suddenly shatters into hundreds of fragments.

For patients, receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be similarly devastating. On top of the emotional blow, cancer often leads to financial ruin, particularly for patients in developing countries like the Philippines where the GDP per capita is just US$2,900.

In fact, a study conducted by the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia found that 56 percent of Filipino cancer patients suffered financial catastrophe within a year of being diagnosed, defined as spending more than 30 percent of their annual income on treatment. Catastrophic illnesses can hasten death by causing patients to skip treatments, or send them into crushing debt as they borrow heavily to finance costly cancer therapies.

But help is on the way, albeit from an unlikely source: smokers. In 2012, the Philippines passed the sin tax reform law, ploughing revenue from the taxation of alcohol and tobacco products back into the healthcare system in the form of universal healthcare, upgraded facilities and medical training.

Source: Asian Scientist Magazine (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public health