Last December, we were delighted to host Council members at a meeting that featured a fireside chat with then-nominee Dr. Robert Califf, and just weeks ago, we welcomed the news of his formal Senate confirmation as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). NCL looks forward to future collaborations with the FDA and expects that under Dr. Califf’s leadership, the agency will ensure that patient and consumer protection remain the highest priority.
Since our December meeting, NCL and Council members have been active on many fronts. Please read on for NCL policy updates, Q&A’s with two members, updates, and more.
Script Your Future Medication Adherence Campaign update – Launched in 2011, NCL’s Script Your Future campaign is a national educational campaign to raise awareness of the importance of taking medications as directed.
New Script Your Future research. In December 2015, NCL released the results of survey research that compared adherence in the campaign’s pilot cities (Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; Cincinnati, OH; Providence, RI; Raleigh, NC; and Sacramento, CA) before the campaign launched in 2011, at its midpoint in 2013, and again in 2015. The results demonstrate improvement in communication and adherence, particularly in the campaign’s target market cities, where patients were significantly more likely than those in a control market to say they are taking their medicines better than in the previous year. NCL was pleased to receive good media coverage of the survey results, including in the February issue of Population Health News.
NCL health policy staffing news
Welcome NCL’s new Health Policy Associate Janay Johnson – NCL is pleased to announce that Janay Johnson will join NCL’s health policy department this month. Janay received her MPH from George Washington University and comes to us from the American Heart Association. We know that you’ll enjoy working with Janay!
Get to know two Health Advisory Council members–Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division and the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)–with new Q&A's.
Eli Lilly and Company – Finding common ground
In a unique partnership, Eli Lilly and Company and Anthem, Inc., have teamed up to drive policy changes that would pave the way for value-based drug pricing—with the goal of ensuring that patients get the best value for their health care dollars. This collaborative approach was unveiled in late January in an op-ed (“Discovering New Medicines and New Ways to Pay for Them”) published in Health Affairs and co-authored by David Ricks, Lilly’s senior vice president and president of Lilly Bio-Medicines, and Samuel Nussbaum, M.D., who recently retired as Anthem’s executive vice president and chief medical officer. Ricks and Nussbaum said they approach pricing issues from “different perspectives but with common ground” and with the shared belief that innovative medicines are an “incredibly powerful and cost-effective way to improve people’s lives.” To learn more, check out the LillyPad blog on the topic, which links to two white papers that detail the new initiative.
National Alliance for Caregiving
In February, the National Alliance for Caregiving, in partnership with Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, released On Pins & Needles: Caregivers of Adults with Mental Illness. The study examines the unique difficulties and opportunities for caregivers of adults with moderate-to-serious mental illness. Major findings of the survey: caregivers said their loved one faced an average of 11.8 years to get a diagnosis; access to treatment and support services is problematic for nearly two out of three; and half have trouble finding case managers, in-patient treatment, and substance abuse treatment. This year, the Alliance also celebrates its 20th anniversary by exploring what the next 20 years in caregiving will look like at the American Society on Aging meeting.
Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR)
The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) 26th Annual Gala “Revolutionizing Healthcare & Research Through Data” is on Wednesday, May 4 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. With regard to Policy developments, SWHR has recently launched The Patient’s Alliance for Drug Safety Protections to bring awareness to the importance of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) as a tool to advance patient safety and protect public health. The organization will also host two policy roundtables to examine the regulatory issues surrounding pain management and novel therapies with the goal of providing consensus statements and recommendations for regulatory actions in mid-to-late 2016.
Save the Date! NCL’s 2016 Trumpeter Awards
We hope you will join us on September 21 for NCL’s Trumpeter Awards dinner and reception in Washington. For more than 40 years, NCL’s Trumpeter Awards have recognized leaders who speak out for social justice, public health, and for the rights of consumers and workers. Past recipients have included FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, legislators, investigative journalists, and other leaders. Learn more about the 2016 Trumpeter Award and how to participate this year here.
Food Waste Conference – Late last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a national goal to reduce food waste in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2030. NCL has been covering the issue of food waste for the last year, but in 2016 we are amplifying our efforts. In May, we’ll host the first ever consumer-focused Food Waste Summit, in partnership with the Keystone Policy Center, to engage representatives from across the stakeholder spectrum on how to actively involve consumers in reducing waste. The conference will take place on May 11 at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, DC. Get more information or RSVP here.
Launching new online members-only discussion board – Health Advisory Council members have told us that one of the most highly valued membership benefits is the ability to connect with the broad range of health policy stakeholders represented on the Council. To facilitate increased member communication, NCL will soon launch an online members-only discussion board where members may share news, suggestions, and ideas. Information on how to access this new communications portal is coming soon.
Meetings in the works – We are in the process of planning our annual Health Advisory Council Membership meeting in the Spring, as well as a policy forum on patient access in the Fall. We welcome your ideas or suggestions! Please feel free to contact Karin Bolte (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Amy Sonderman (email@example.com).
National Consumers League
Published March 16, 2016