Novartis, Philippine College of Chest Physicians Launch COPD Awareness Campaign

BREATHE Initiative Launching

• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the seventh leading cause of death in the Philippines, has a destructive impact on patients’ function and quality of life, and increase the risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and a variety of other conditions. However, it is treatable.

• While smoking is the most common cause of COPD, non-smokers are also at risk of developing the disease. Risk factors include second-hand cigarette smoke, air pollution and fumes from fuel burned for cooking and heating.

• Awareness on COPD is low among the general population, and the underutilization of spirometry by doctors has resulted in under-diagnosis of the disease.

• Novartis Healthcare Philippines and the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) have launched the BREATHE initiative to increase public awareness on COPD and to enhance the knowledge of local healthcare professionals in COPD diagnosis and management.

Makati City, October 18, 2017 – While smoking is the most common cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), non-smokers are also at risk of developing this debilitating and life-threatening inflammatory disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. People exposed to large amounts of secondhand cigarette smoke, air pollution, and fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes are at risk of developing COPD.1-4

Awareness on COPD is low among the general population, and a number of doctors may be unaware of updates in the diagnosis and management of COPD.. Moreover, there is underutilization of spirometry, a lung function test considered as the gold standard for confirming the diagnosis of COPD, and is helpful in its prognostication and treatment with non-pharmacologic therapies. As a result, COPD under-diagnosis represents one of the main challenges. These were among the key findings of a recent study entitled “The Global Burden of COPD” published in the journal Respirology.5

To help address this problem, the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) and Novartis Healthcare Philippines have launched the BREATHE initiative. BREATHE, which stands for Broadening Reach, Enhancing Awareness, and Transforming Health Education, aims to increase public awareness on avoiding or mitigating COPD risk factors, as well as to enhance the knowledge of local healthcare professionals in COPD diagnosis and management.

“COPD is the seventh leading cause of death in the Philippines.6 Novartis fully supports the PCCP in implementing the BREATHE initiative and achieving our shared goal of making more Filipinos aware of COPD and easing its heavy disease burden in the country,” said Ms. Cheryl Maley, President & Managing Director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.

COPD symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing.1 These symptoms have a destructive impact on patients’ function (i.e. activity limitation, decreased mobility) and quality of life.7,8 COPD is often a combination of two conditions: emphysema and chronic bronchitis.9 People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions.10 The good news is COPD is treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can control their symptoms and enhance quality of life, as well as reduce their risk of other associated conditions.1

Activities to be implemented through the BREATHE initiative include the holding of lay foraand free clinics, including the provision of medical services such as spirometry. BREATHE will promote the use of digital platforms and social media to disseminate information and promote public awareness on COPD. Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities will also be conducted using modern e-congress technology such as webinars to enhance the knowledge of local healthcare professionals in COPD diagnosis and management, particularly in spiometry.

The launch of the BREATHE initiative is part of the activities that the PCCP and Novartis Healthcare Philippines are undertaking in preparation for the country’s observance of World COPD Day on November 15, 2017, which will have the theme “The Many Faces of COPD”. World COPD Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with healthcare professionals and COPD patient groups throughout the world.11

World COPD Day aims to raise awareness about COPD and improve COPD care throughout the world. Each year GOLD chooses a theme and coordinates preparation and distribution of World COPD Day materials and resources. World COPD Day activities are organized in each country by health care professionals, educators, and members of the public who want to help reduce the burden of COPD. The first World COPD Day was held in 2002. Each year organizers in more than 50 countries worldwide have carried out activities, making the day one of the world’s most important COPD awareness and education events.11

lung day

World Lung Day, September 25

FIRS World Lung Day

Global coalition of respiratory health organizations issues recommendations to improve lung health

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (September 25, 2017) – The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) has coordinated the first World Lung Day, September 25, which asserts that the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals will not succeed without more attention to the burden of lung disease as outlined in their recent report The Global Impact of Respiratory Disease. FIRS calls for public support of respiratory health as a main action on World Lung Day.

“Respiratory diseases impose an immense worldwide health burden. Five of these diseases are among the most common causes of severe illness and death worldwide—COPD, asthma, acute lower tract infections, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. FIRS aims to raise awareness, improve prevention and control, and cure these diseases. Promotion of respiratory health must be a top priority in global decision-making in the public health sector. We hope World Lung Day will provide an opportunity for action, conversation, and awareness,” said Dean Schraufnagel, MD, Executive Director of FIRS.

Global public health goals must prioritize lung health:

  • More than 65 million people suffer from COPD, the third leading cause of death worldwide–and the numbers are increasing.
  • Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting 14% of children–and its prevalence in children is rising.
  • Tuberculosis is the most fatal infectious disease, with 10.4 million cases and 1.4 million deaths annually–and this disease should not be.
  • Lung cancer is the most common lethal neoplasm in the world–and the numbers are growing.
  • Pneumonia has been among the top causes of death for decades–and is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five.
  • Sleep apnea affects more than 100 million people–up to 10% of adults in certain settings.
  • Occupational lung disease affects more than 50 million people–and workers continue to breath in sickening mineral dusts, bioaerosols, and fumes
  • Pulmonary hypertension occurs in 1% of the world’s population–and 10% of those over 65 years of age.
  • Pulmonary embolism has an incidence reported to be at 6-20 per hundred thousand–but this grossly underestimated.

The lungs are the front line of environmental exposure: 2 billion people are exposed to indoor smoke; 1 billion inhale outdoor polluted air; and 1 billion are exposed to tobacco smoke.

Emergency preparedness must be centered on the lungs as so many causative agents are disseminated through the air. For example, outbreaks of viral pandemics hit the lungs first, and most chemical and biologic weapons enter the body through the lungs.

FIRS calls for these essential actions to reduce the burden of respiratory disease and improve global health:

  1. Increase awareness among the public and policy makers that respiratory health is a major component of global health;
  2. Reduce the use of all tobacco products through universal adoption of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control;
  3. Adopt World Health Organization air quality standards to reduce ambient, indoor, and occupational air pollution for all countries;
  4. Promote universal access to quality health care, essential medicines, and immunizations;
  5. Improve early diagnosis of respiratory diseases through increasing public awareness of lung health and disease;
  6. Increase training of health professionals worldwide in respiratory disease;
  7. Standardize the monitoring and management of respiratory diseases with evidence-based national and international strategies; and
  8. Increase research to prevent and treat respiratory diseases.

“While respiratory disease has a tremendous impact on the world’s population, it also is largely preventable,” concluded Dr. Schraufnagel. “Investing the resources necessary to prevent and cure these diseases is a cost-effective investment that benefits the entire world. Public policy makers in the healthcare sector need to recognize the size of the problem and take concrete steps now to improve global lung health.”

To learn more about World Lung Day and how individuals can support this effort, please visit

About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies
The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organization consisting of the world’s leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latinoamericana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), and Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its organizations and their more than 70,000 members globally. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Mike Hess, Communications Director,
Forum of International Respiratory Societies,

May 22 - 3

Updates from PCCP, June 15, 2017

15 June 2017

Dear Colleague,

It’s been 3 months since I started (gauging from the weekly President’s blog which is now beyond week 12). I would like to update you our dear PCCP colleagues on what is happening to our College.


We continue to be an important voice with other societies (as part of the global FIRS network of lung societies) and now as enbloc member of APSR and ERS. Both groups wish to remind our members to be active in their respective assemblies, ERS in particular shared data in our MOA and leaders meeting in Washington DC that only 20% of PCCP-ERS members have joined at least one assembly, a pre-requisite to activate their membership. If it’s OK with our members we will check our Council membership where you are currently a member and use that as a basis to inform both ERS and APSR of your assembly membership, please inform us individually if you do not like this option. Reminder that every year PCCP submits the enbloc membership fees and we then ask individuals to remit to us as reimbursement. Incidentally, APSR is asking our assistance on how to improve assembly engagement as well as webinar and other IT projects. JRS has signed an individual MOA with APSR and we would like to review that too. We have also accepted the challenge of co-hosting he Asia Pacific Regional TB Union conference in April, 2019 (many of us are in the orgcom including yours truly as over-all chair). We will be signing a MOA soon on this matter.


Almost immediately after assuming office. We were asked to support the Executive Order banning smoking in public places as well as indoors, while the final EO was not the full ban we had wanted, it is still a victory for our anti-smoking campaign. We will be attending the launch of the Quit Smoking Hotline next week (June 19) and will pursue a MOA with Lung Center of the Philippines on the revival of stop smoking clinics. We have also, through our Councils on Diagnostics and Therapeutics under Dr. Roland Panaligan and Occupational/ILD under avenue Dr. Joven Jeremius Tanchuco, come up with position papers on mucolytics and the excise taxes on biofuels. We also helped spearhead efforts for Marawi relief ops through our Northern Mindanao Chapter (through Dr. Peter Ivan Gamolo), Iligan Medical Society (through Board Member Dr. Eileen Aniceto) and individual donations. Thanks to PGH fellow Dr. Hannah Manua. We gave financial donations to help in the relief ops.


We have now signed the following MOAs (1) GSK MOA for webinar Inter-hospital conferences and possible other IT projects, (2) UNILAB (June 30) for GEEK projects and PCCP app, (3) RX Global marketing (previously negotiated under Vince time) on smoke cessation advocacy, (4) Parish of Holy Family in Novaliches (Fr. Allan), (5) continued collaboration with MMDA, (6) ABBOTT LAMON Lung, 3 sessions done, total participants 200 + PCCP fellows and trainees.


We are going paperless in our board meetings and communications. Both the Accreditation Board has accepted recommendations to cumbersome paperwork and to utilize self-assessment and a more localized way of visits as well as online submissions, the Specialty Board has also graciously accepted the challenge to bring back as many practicing Pulmonologist to the fold and are preparing for another leniency year next, next year (2019) targeting those who been in practice for the last 10 years, members of good standing and actively participating in chapter activities, this will involve passing online reviews and using more local CPGs.

Improving the HQ . We have started converting the old airconditioners espcially those on the first floor to inverter type. Secretariat has endorsed sewers improvement, the board has approved the idea that a more drastic review and overhaul of the several de Adie old house is in order and we will ask a professional group to review. This includes suggestions to totally renovate the place to give it a modern, welcoming, corporate look or even construct a building in place of the house. Also, a heads-up, in view of our increasing activities and costs, we have also tried to explore the possibility of purchasing our own van.


On my prodding, Dr. Eileen Aniceto has developed a health program for our members, it had a soft launch recently and will update you continuously. It also involves offering healthy food during meetings (avoiding chips etc).

With PCCP now officially accredited as CPE/CME provider, I reiterate my call for chapters, councils to be actively involved with industry and community.


Finally, we are preparing for the strategic planning this July 1 (through Long-Range planning head go Leni F) which I hope will set the directions for the College in the next decade, we hope we can have a fruitful discussion involving major stakeholders. I hope we can further improve our rites and rituals and maybe have a long hard look at our constitution, implementing rules, governance manual.

I also hope we continue with programs and plans to improve our members welfare, we will soon embark on the Board on the road trips. While we face continuing challenges and crisis in the country and as a responsible College , we will try to be actively involved and update you (esp through the weekly blog which I hope you can take time out to read. We also all need to be reminded that while we are the vanguards of lung health through our various advocating and while we now are known as active partners of DOH, PhilHealth and others, we are Filipinos who need to pull together for a better society.

Mabuhay ang PCCP!

In behalf of the board

Charles Y. Yu, MD, FPCCP