National Consumers League

Health Advisory Council Newsletter | 2017 Q4 | Member Q&A's

Joe-Hill.jpgJoseph Hill
Director, Government Relations Division, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 

Q. How would you describe your role at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)?
A. I serve as the Director of the Government Relations Division for ASHP. In this capacity, I oversee all of our government relations activity including Congressional, federal agencies, and state.  

Q. What do you think Council members should know about ASHP?
A. ASHP’s nearly 45,000 members are committed to providing patient care that helps patients achieve optimal health outcomes. ASHP helps its members achieve this goal by advocating and supporting the professional practice of pharmacists in hospitals, health systems, ambulatory care clinics, and other settings spanning the full spectrum of patient care. ASHP serves its members as their collective voice on issues related to medication use and public health. 

Q. What ASHP initiatives would you like to share with the Council?
A. ASHP is a lead member of the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPPC), a group of more than 30 organizations (including NCL) representing pharmacy, rural health care, and consumers. PAPCC is currently advocating for legislation (H.R. 592, S. 109) that would increase patient access to pharmacists’ direct patient care services in underserved areas. The bills have broad bipartisan support with more than half of the U.S. House of Representatives (240) signed on in support and nearly half of the Senate (49). The bills would allow Medicare beneficiaries to access care from pharmacists in underserved areas for services that are already allowed by state scope of practice laws. 

Q. What is ASHP doing to change the way people think about and approach healthcare?
A. Medication use has become the first line of treatment for most conditions. As a result, more people are taking more medications than ever before. While this helps to improve patient health overall, improper medication use, adverse drug reactions, and lack of patient counseling are emerging challenges that can cause patient harm, and increase costs. Pharmacists are the medication use experts and are trained to help patients make the best use of their medicines. ASHP is at the forefront of advancing the profession of pharmacy away from medication dispensers to direct patient care providers as it relates to medication use. 

Q. What does ASHP value about membership in NCL’s Health Advisory Council? 
A. ASHP shares NCL’s goal of improving the health and well-being of our nation’s consumers. We believe NCL enables ASHP to amplify its voice on the role that pharmacists play in making medication use safe and effective.  

 

janet_2015.jpgJanet McUlsky
Senior Director, National Alliance Development, Pfizer, Inc.    

Q. What is your role at Pfizer?
A. As Senior Director of National Alliance Development at Pfizer, I have dual roles in working with the advocacy community. Together with my team, I am responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with the broad non-profit healthcare policy community in DC. Our objective is to work together on policy issues that are important to all parties while always maintaining our respective independence and integrity. Of equal importance is the role we play in taking patient concerns to Pfizer colleagues and encouraging and assisting them in developing programmatic responses.

Q. What do you think Council Members should know about Pfizer? 
A. Pfizer has a rich history as a transformative innovator that, through the generations, has demonstrated a willingness to develop initiatives that respond to the changing needs in healthcare. A great example is Pfizer’s response to an appeal from the U.S. Government in 1941 to expedite the manufacture of penicillin. The company's management invested millions of dollars, putting at stake their own assets as stockholders, to buy the equipment and facilities needed for the novel process of deep-tank fermentation. Pfizer employees worked around the clock to perfect the complex production process and in just four months, the company was producing five times more penicillin than originally anticipated. To this day, our employees are innovators and trailblazers who are committed to finding the next cure.

Q. What Pfizer initiatives would you like to share with the Council?
A. Pfizer’s R&D is active in the areas of oncology, neuroscience, cardiovascular, inflammation and immunology and rare diseases. Two big concerns currently being explored are difficult to treat cancers and vaccines for diseases that are particularly impactful in high risk populations. As a healthcare company – and not just a drug manufacturer – we also invest a lot of our talent and time on prevention with programs such as Get Old and other healthy living initiatives designed to advance wellness, prevention, treatments, and cures.

Q. What is Pfizer doing to change the way people think about and approach healthcare?
A. Our nation is on the cusp of a gigantic change in medicine. Innovations such as gene therapy and personalized medicine take us closer to unlocking ways to treat many illnesses. At the same time, patients are increasingly faced with access barriers to treatment. Pfizer is working with advocacy organizations to make sure that patients’ needs are always in focus, from innovation to manufacturing to engagement in public policy. That is how we continue our commitment to innovative research and patient-centric healthcare.

Q. What partnerships has Pfizer had with NCL?
A. Pfizer has partnered with NCL over the years in many efforts to educate consumers on healthcare topics. We believe that informed consumers have a distinct advantage when it comes to their healthcare and are proud of our role in raising awareness about prevention initiatives that benefit consumers as well as initiatives that protect patients. 

Q. What does Pfizer value about membership in NCL’s Health Advisory Council? 
A. NCL’s Health Advisory Council provides a valuable forum to discuss critical healthcare policies with a variety of stakeholders. In bringing together the broad healthcare community, including leading government officials, the Health Advisory Council inspires a constructive dialogue that enhances our understanding of public needs. I find the diversity of viewpoints inspiring and educational, and I look forward to continuing our charge of protecting patients and promoting healthy lives.