National Consumers League

Health Advisory Council Newsletter | 2017 Q1

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Welcome to the Q1 issue of the Health Advisory Council Newsletter. This quarter, NCL and Council Members have been active on many fronts. Please read on for NCL policy updates, a new Q&A with the Alliance for Aging Research, Member updates, and more.

Thank you for renewing your membership! 
Thank you for renewing your Health Advisory Council membership for 2017. We appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the health of consumers and workers. 

events.png Save the date! NCL’s 2017 Health Advisory Council Spring Membership Meeting  

We hope you will join us on June 6 from 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM for NCL’s Health Advisory Council Spring Membership Meeting in Washington, DC. Stay tuned for additional details!

1health_icon.png NCL health policy at work 

Defending the ACA and Medicaid. As part of the Protect Our Care coalition, NCL has been actively engaged in the nationwide effort to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Through press releases, letters, and social media, NCL joined with its colleagues in the consumer, patient, and public health communities in urging Congress to reject the House GOP’s health plan, which would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and paying more for less. In January, NCL also joined the effort to encourage consumers to enroll in the 2017 Health Insurance Exchanges prior to the January 31 deadline.

Click here for more NCL health policy updates. 

1spotlight_icon.png Member spotlight

Get to know Alliance for Aging Research with a new Q&A.

1staff-icon.jpgNCL staffing news

Lee GranadosWelcome NCL’s new Senior Director of Development Lee Granados. NCL is pleased to announce that Lee Granados has joined NCL as its Senior Director of Development, replacing Amy Sonderman, who has taken a position at USP. Lee started her career as an elementary school teacher after receiving a BA in Education from the University of Dayton. After nine years, she left the classroom to consult nationally on bilingual education, cultural competency, and linguistics. Simultaneously she found herself managing small and large events in Washington, DC and serving on nonprofit boards with a focus on DC residents, community, and education.

Lee said: "I am thrilled to join NCL and its team of committed advocates and policy experts who work on behalf of keeping America's families safe and healthy. As we move into the next 100 years of NCL's work in health policy, I look forward to working with Sally, Karin, Janay, and the Members of the Health Advisory Council.”  

1members.png Updates on Member programs

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)

Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act Reintroduced: Legislation that enjoyed strong bipartisan support last Congress has been reintroduced early in the 115th. H.R. 592/S.109 would enable pharmacists to provide care for Medicare beneficiaries in medically underserved areas. H.R. 592, sponsored by Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), was introduced on January 20 with over 100 cosponsors. S. 109, sponsored by Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bob Casey (D-PA), was introduced on January 12 with over 20 cosponsors. This legislation would significantly increase access to basic care services in medically underserved areas, medically underserved populations, and health professional shortage areas. Developed by the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC), the bills are once again gaining strong bipartisan support in both Houses of Congress. Congress is expected to consider Medicare-related legislation later this year and PAPCC is working to include the legislation in any future Medicare legislative package. The PAPCC (http://pharmacistscare.org/) is a multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary initiative. Membership is comprised of organizations representing patients, pharmacists, and pharmacies, as well as other interested stakeholders, including NCL. 

Association for Accessible Medicines

The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), formerly the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, unveiled a new identity in February during the annual meeting, ACCESS! 2017, as part of a major campaign to better communicate its mission and improve recognition that generics and biosimilars lower health costs for millions of people. The campaign, “Keeping Medicines in Reach,” shares the story of patients whose health and lives are improved by access to generic medicines. The first patient stories have been featured in broadcast, cable and digital advertising, and are available on the association’s new website, www.accessiblemeds.org, as well as through Twitter and Facebook

Over 700 participants attended ACCESS! 2017—including for the first time, patient advocacy groups, who gathered with generic and biosimilar executives and industry professionals to listen to industry thought leaders and to discuss the opportunities and challenges for the pharmaceutical industry in 2017. Ignited by a premier line-up of dynamic speakers, including The Honorable Bobby Jindal and the Center for American Progress’s Neera Tanden on “The Most Uncertain Political Environment Ever,” attendees engaged in two days of deep and thoughtful conversation, reflecting on how the industry could work together to raise its collective voice. AAM also celebrated those within our industry and those outside whose contributions improve access to medicines, including recognizing NCL and its Executive Director Sally Greenberg with a Champions of Access award.

Additionally, the Biosimilars Council, a division of AAM, partnered with The Atlantic for the second in a series of biosimilar breakfast briefings as part of The Atlantic’s Politics & Policy series. The event, The Next Drugs: The Future for Biosimilars, delved into the FDA’s recent naming and interchangeability guidances and how the new administration's priorities will impact biosimilars.  The briefing featured opening remarks from the Biosimilars Council followed by two moderated discussions featuring Rep. Mike Burgess (R-TX); Jim Van Lieshout, Vice President Market Access and Pharmacy Strategy, Apobiologix; Len Lichtenfeld, MD, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society; and David Fox, Partner, Hogan Lovells. You can view the full briefing here.

Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Know Your Dose: Acetaminophen safety: Consumers' knowledge of acetaminophen safe use is at an all-time high, according to a new nationwide survey conducted by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation. The survey shows a positive trend over the past six years: more people than ever are aware of how to use products containing acetaminophen safely and effectively, while avoiding the risks of accidental overdose and liver damage.

Findings include:

  • More consumers agree it is "important not to exceed the dosing directions on the label" of pain relievers (increased to 96 percent in 2016 from 90 percent in 2010).
  • More consumers understand that "exceeding the recommended daily dose of acetaminophen may lead to liver damage" (increased to 90 percent in 2016 from 78 percent in 2010). 

More information on the study and its findings can be found here

Up and Away: Poison Prevention Week: March 19-25, 2017 marked a successful National Poison Prevention Week. As part of its efforts to reach more consumers with its message of the importance of storing medicines up and away and out of sight and reach of young children, the CHPA Educational Foundation developed a toolkit that it distributed via its partners and digital channels. Health Advisory Council members can follow the discussion and help share this message on social media using the hashtags #MedsUpAway and #NPPW.

Council for Affordable Health Coverage

Prescriptions for Value Campaign: The Council for Affordable Health Coverage is launching a new multi-stakeholder advocacy campaign - called Prescriptions for Value - to raise awareness of the growing challenges posed by rising costs, and to help drive common sense solutions that promote lower costs through incentives, competition and innovation. By bringing together leading payer, manufacturer, patient, consumer and health care industry leaders, Prescriptions for Value is committed to advancing near-term solutions that can improve the lives of all patients across the country. We support changes to current law and regulations that:

  • Encourage value-based arrangements where payers and manufacturers link payment for a medicine to medical outcomes;
  • Reduce regulatory barriers and create incentives to speed biopharmaceutical development and approval in ways that create competition and lower costs across products;
  • Provide consumers with actionable information and tools to help them make informed choices; and
  • Expand value-based insurance arrangements that promote plan flexibility.

We urge all stakeholders interested in finding and delivering solutions to these pressing issues to join our effort. Contact Joel White (joel.white@cahc.net) or Sloane Salzburg (sloane.salzburg@cahc.net) at CAHC to discuss the campaign further. 

Eli Lilly and Company

John Lechleiter, CEO (emeritus) of Eli Lilly and Company, wrote a series for Forbes last year on the need for a more constructive and inclusive approach to the challenge of affording high-quality medicines. In a column last summer, Lechleiter argued for an agenda focused on reducing out-of-pocket costs to patients, elevating value as the preeminent criteria in pricing medicines, and increasing competition among pharmaceutical suppliers. Lechleiter’s Oct. 2016 piece further explores cutting out-of-pocket costs in “Ways To More Affordable Medicines: Cutting Out-of-Pocket Costs.” In addition, Eli Lilly’s policy piece “A Holistic Approach for Prescription Drug Prices” discusses the importance of putting the needs of patients first, making value the preeminent criteria in pricing medicines, and focusing on removing obstacles towards drug development and review.        

FDA Office of Women’s Health

Diverse Women in Clinical Trials Initiative: Increasing the participation of women from diverse backgrounds in clinical research will require the support and participation of government, industry, clinicians, researchers, and other interested stakeholders. The FDA Office of Women's Health is partnering with the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health and other national organizations to raise awareness about women of different ages, races, ethnic backgrounds, and health conditions participating in clinical trials. The Diverse Women in Clinical Trials Initiative includes a consumer awareness campaign, as well as resources and workshops for health professionals and researchers. Use the Partner Toolkit to inform the women in your network about clinical trials. The toolkit includes resources for 'everyday' women and health professionals including fact sheets, sample social media and email messages, and articles.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. is pleased to support the launch of year 6 of Safe Kids Worldwide’s Medicine Safety campaign. This year’s campaign is anchored by a research report, “Safe Medicine Storage: A Look at the Disconnect Between Parent Knowledge and Behavior,” that explores the gap between what parents know they should do to keep kids safe around medicine and what they actually do. A new nationwide survey of 2,000 parents revealed that while the clear majority of parents agree that it’s important to store all medicine out of sight and up high after every use, less than half of the survey respondents reported doing so. With almost one call every minute to poison control centers and enough kids to fill about four school buses a day arriving to emergency rooms due to accidental medicine poisonings, it is more important than ever for parents to store medicine safely. Here are some things families can do to protect kids:

  • Store medicine up and away and out of sight and reach every time.
  • Keep medicine in its original child-resistant packaging.
  • Practice safe storage of medicine as soon as your first child is born.
  • Put the Poison Help number – 1-800-222-1222 – into your phone and post it visibly at home.
  • Instead of keeping your medicine handy, use safe reminder tools like cell phone alarms or medication schedules.

For more information on the campaign, visit the Medication Safety section of the Safe Kids website. For sample social media posts for use to amplify Safe Kids’ medication safety campaign efforts, please contact Leily Saadat-Lajevardi at lsaadat@its.jnj.com.   

National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health

The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH) has a busy spring/early summer season planned with its fourth annual Women's Sexual Health Course scheduled for June 8-11, 2017 in Baltimore, MD. NPWH has also been participating as a member of the planning committee for the May 17th Women's Health Empowerment Summit, organized by the Coalition for Women's Health Equity (of which NPWH is a member). NPWH also cosponsored several CEs, including a webinar series on Preventing Unintended Teratogen Exposure in Reproductive-aged Women, which are available to view at www.npwh.org/courses. Registration will open soon for the 20th annual Premier Women's Health Care Conference, being held October 11-14 in Seattle, WA. Be on the lookout for registration at http://bit.ly/NPWH2017.  

National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) 

A Roadmap for Building a National Self-care Movement in the U.S.: In late 2016, NCPIE convened a diverse group of advisors for a facilitator-led discussion to gain input and guidance on the development of a comprehensive national self-care action plan with priorities for action across an ages and life stages continuum. Towards this end, NCPIE convened a group of advisors from leading professional societies, voluntary health organizations, government agencies and industry with the goal of assessing the opportunities for self-care in the U.S. and agreeing on a roadmap for action to accelerate progress, especially regarding the appropriate selection and use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and other self-care strategies that are necessary for the treatment of minor ailments and the daily management of chronic conditions. Objectives for the advisory group’s deliberations included:

  • Arrive at a definition of consumer-centered self-care that can be clearly understood by the general public and healthcare professionals to ensure that clear messaging can be developed for a broad range of audiences.
  • Establish a consensus-driven framework for determining appropriate self-care objectives across an ages and life-stages perspective.
  • Develop a strategic Priorities for Action communications and educational roadmap to reach consumer and patient audiences, healthcare professionals, health policymakers and the media with impactful themes and messaging to advance informed self-care.

NCPIE plans to release the Roadmap for Building a National Self-care Movement, with national priorities that can have the greatest impact in improving the climate for self-care in this country, in the spring. Interested organizations should contact Ray Bullman, NCPIE, at bullman@ncpie.info.   

NCPIE wishes to acknowledge Pfizer Consumer Health for its support to enable NCPIE to develop this resource. The content and editorial control of all included material is solely the responsibility of NCPIE.

National Partnership for Women and Families

GetMyHealthData is a project of the National Partnership for Women & Families focused on improving people’s access to and use of their health information. Access to relevant and actionable health data can empower consumers to better contribute to and shape their health care decisions – from choosing the right health plan to understanding and following treatment recommendations. GetMyHealthData has spent the last year documenting what happens when individuals request their medical records and other health information. Personal stories have been powerful fuel for generating interest in and commitment to our work. Help us make the case that change is needed and inspire action! Tell us about your experience asking for or using your health information: What steps did you take? What problems did you encounter? How would you describe the experience? Share your story today: https://getmyhealthdata.org/share/ 

Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI) 

NEHI invites Health Advisory Council members to join the conversation by registering for NEHI’s 2017 Annual Conference, which will take place on April 25-26 in Washington, DC. The goal of this year’s meeting, “Fresh Starts, Enduring Challenges”, is to explore the cross-sector issues that we face in health and health care, and the impending changes stemming from new leadership in Washington.

The conference will include sessions on:

  • Innovation in Value-Based Payment and Delivery Reform: The Next Four Years
  • Advancing Cures in Cancer
  • The New Minds in Health Care – Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing
  • Cross-Sector Conversation – Looking Ahead for Health Care

The full agenda and list of speakers is available here, and registration is available at this link. Please share with any and all interested colleagues!

U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) 

Dietary supplements: Responding to the concern and need for consistent quality in dietary and nutritional supplements, USP founded the Dietary Supplements Quality Collaborative (Collaborative). This multi-stakeholder partnership (NCL is a founding member) is pursuing consensus-based initiatives focused on public and private efforts to improve the quality of products marketed as dietary supplements.

The Collaborative understands that millions of U.S. consumers rely on dietary supplement products to meet nutritional or other needs, with demand only increasing. Yet illegal, fraudulent, adulterated, misbranded, and poor quality products put consumers at risk and taint the marketplace. The Collaborative believes that consumers and healthcare providers should be able to expect the dietary supplements they purchase and recommend are safe and quality products. Further, the Collaborative recognizes that ingredient suppliers, supplement manufacturers, retailers and the government share responsibility to keep illegal, fraudulent, adulterated and misbranded products from entering the marketplace.

PQM report: USP would like to share the release of its 2016 Promotion of Quality Medicines (PQM) annual report. PQM is a collaboration between USP and USAID tasked with strengthening health systems in 34 critical countries by enhancing technical assistance to build laboratory capacity of medicines and regulatory authority.

1listen.png We want to hear from you!

If you have time-sensitive information and updates you’d like to share with the Health Advisory Council in between NCL’s quarterly newsletters, please contact Karin Bolte (karinb@nclnet.org) or Janay Johnson (janayj@nclnet.org), and we will be happy to forward your materials to the Council membership. We also encourage you to contact us with your ideas and suggestions for Council activities.

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National Consumers League
Published March 28, 2017