National Consumers League

Health Advisory Council Newsletter | 2016 Q2


In case you missed it!

On May 24, NCL hosted the Second Annual Health Advisory Council Spring Membership Meeting, featuring Dr. Kathy Hudson, Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy at the National Institutes of Health. The meeting minutes are available here.

In Q2 2016, 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.

1health_icon.png NCL Health Policy at Work 

NCL joins campaign to educate seniors about buying drugs safely online – In June, NCL joined with the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies and the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies in launching to educate seniors and their caregivers about how to protect themselves against counterfeit drugs and safely buy drugs online. A recent review of more than 11,000 websites selling prescription medications online to U.S. consumers found approximately 96 percent do not comply with U.S. laws and 50 percent of medicines sold online are fake or counterfeit. In conjunction with its partners, NCL is providing tips to help consumers stay safe and encouraging them to buy from websites ending in .pharmacy, which are verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). In addition, online pharmacies that display the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) seal have successfully undergone NABP’s rigorous screening process. 

OTC monograph user fees – On June 10, Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director, testified before the FDA in support of user fees for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. OTC drugs play a vital role in keeping consumers healthy and helping them to feel better when they’re sick. The FDA OTC Division is seriously under-resourced. Additional funding for this division would enable the agency to finalize review of OTC ingredients and address safety issues faster and more efficiently. In addition, a user fee program could benefit both consumers and industry by allowing for more timely review of innovations and new ingredients, ultimately leading to the availability of new and improved OTC options. NCL offered two notes of caution: we asked the FDA to ensure that the program not squeeze out smaller companies who might not have the resources for high user fees and that strong scientific evidence accompany any approval and that a company’s ability or willingness to pay into the fund must not provide easier access to approval. 

Click here for more NCL health policy updates. 

1spotlight_icon.png Member spotlight

Get to know two Health Advisory Council members–AARP and Merckwith new Q&A's

1members.png Updates on member programs

Consumer Healthcare Products Association 
In June, the Know Your Dose campaign will celebrate its fifth anniversary. The campaign is recognizing this milestone by a) highlighting the progress that has been made over the past five years in increasing acetaminophen awareness and b) by recognizing the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition, advisors, partners, and industry leaders for their hard work and leadership on this issue. Take a moment to view a celebratory video recognizing campaign efforts, and don’t forget to follow @KnowYourDose on Twitter.

The Up and Away Campaign is recognizing National Safety Month in June. As part of this national educational rally, the campaign has developed a digital toolkit that campaign partners will disseminate to their constituencies. In addition, the campaign has partnered with the National Safety Council on an audio news release featuring both Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council, and Dr. Dan Budnitz, director of the Medication Safety Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Next month the foundation will be presenting its poster “Consumers see the importance of medication disposal but don’t know or seek information about proper methods” at the One Health Conference on Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care Products in Alabama. The poster details how self-care and the use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines is an indispensable element of healthcare in America. It also outlines how disposing of medicines from the home is an important consideration for those whose medications have expired, or for those who no longer need the medications they have previously acquired.

Bradi Granger, Duke University – Medication Adherence Alliance
The Medication Adherence Alliance is composed of key experts in the field of medication adherence including representatives from consumer advocacy groups, providers, the academic community, government officials, and industry representatives. Key goals and activities of the Alliance include setting and implementing a coordinated medication adherence research agenda, as well as evaluating current and novel interventions that aim to improve medication adherence. Visit our website for more information. 

National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) is pleased to announce that we are partnering with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Physicians (ACP) to update the Women's Preventive Services Guidelines and to develop new recommendations to enhance women’s overall healthcare. NPWH is proud to be a partner with ACOG, AAFP, and ACP for the purpose of reviewing and updating the HRSA supported Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines. Please read the complete press release here.

NPWH is also hosting its annual Women’s Sexual Health Course for NPs in San Diego, CA, June 23-26, 2016 and the 19th Annual Premier Women’s Healthcare Conference in New Orleans, LA, September 28-October 1, 2016. NPWH will also hold its first Summit on Women’s Health After 50 on October 26, 2016. The goal is to make healthy aging for women over 50 top-of-mind for health care advocates and policy makers.

National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE)
The National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) created the Adherence Action Agenda (also known as the A3 Project) in 2013. NCPIE organized a diverse stakeholder group known as the project advisory team to assist with development of the A3 Project. The home page of the A3 site features a short video about the A3 project and NCPIE’s focus on patients with multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) and the downloadable referenced report: "Accelerating Progress in Prescription Medicine Adherence: The Adherence Action Agenda - A National Action Plan," with key Priorities for Action that NCPIE continues to address individually and collaboratively. Most recently, this includes:

  • Advocating for and securing approval from the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) for the inclusion of medicine adherence as a measure for the accreditation process for medical education programs effective as of the 2015-2016 academic year.
  • In collaboration with the American Medical Association (AMA), NCPIE is developing content for a training module focused on Medication Adherence for residents under the AMA educational program, Introduction to the Practice of Medicine (IPM). The adherence module will be disseminated by IPM/AMA to more than 5,000 institutions with a reach of 20,000 medical residents in time for inclusion in the residency training library for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

NCPIE’s Talk Before You Take program continues to reach consumers and healthcare providers with news articles and by participating in healthcare provider National Conference exhibit programs during the spring and summer, including the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). This national education campaign and its foundational research were developed through a multi-year grant provided by the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to encourage and improve communications between healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients about their medicines. Through the completion of a quantitative web-based survey, Knowledge, Attitudes & Behaviors Concerning Risk & Safety Information of Medicines: A Survey of patients/Patients and HCPs in the U.S., NCPIE assessed patients' reported receipt, understanding, use, and preferences for information about their medicines – with a parallel assessment of HCPs – to ascertain gaps/disconnects and opportunities to stimulate and improve patient-healthcare provider communication to maximize the benefits and minimize potential risks of prescribed medications. Here is a link to a recent NewsUSA MAT article: 10 Questions to Ask About the Medicines You Take. NCPIE has other articles and downloads suitable for both healthcare professionals and consumer audiences. Please contact Deborah Davidson at for more information.

National Partnership for Women and Families
Supporting Informed Decision-Making in the Health Insurance Marketplace: A Progress Report for 2016The new study looks at the tools that were available during the third open enrollment period to consumers who were window shopping on, which is used in 38 states, and on the 13 state-based marketplace websites. It found encouraging improvements in the consumer-friendliness of marketplace websites and offers specific recommendations for administrators as they work to further improve the health plan shopping experience and help individuals and families find the plan that is right for them.

Consumer MACRA Materials. The National Partnership is leading efforts to ensure that the implementation of MACRA reflects consumer priorities in key aspects of the law, including in how alternative payment models are defined, criteria for patient-centered medical homes, the robust use of health information technology, and patient and family engagement throughout health system transformation. Check out this webpage for National Partnership resources related to MACRA implementation:

Trumpeter Awards DinnerSave the Date! NCL’s 2016 Trumpeter Awards

We hope you will join us on September 21 for NCL’s Trumpeter Awards Dinner, recognizing leaders in consumer and worker rights. This year, NCL is pleased to present the Trumpeter Award to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. NCL will also present the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award to Karen Peltz Strauss, Deputy Bureau Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC, and California State Senator Dr. Richard Pan. Dr. Pan has promoted transparency and accountability in health programs and abolishing the discriminatory medical history and pre-existing condition clause. Last September, he participated in NCL’s Script Your Future conference in Sacramento, where he spoke about the challenges and barriers to medication adherence. Dr. Pan was instrumental in the passage of Senate Bill 277, which eliminated the personal belief exemption for parents who choose to opt their child out of school vaccine requirements. NCL has long supported vaccinations because of the extremely safe and effective benefits they provide to children and adults. NCL also works to fight misinformation about vaccines.

Join us in honoring the work of Dr. Pan and this year’s other awardees! Learn more about the 2016 Trumpeter Awards Dinner and how to participate this year here or contact Amy Sonderman at or (202) 207-2829. 

1listen.png We want to hear from you!

Online members-only discussion board – We encourage you to take advantage of the online members-only communications portal, where members may share news, suggestions, and ideas directly with each other. We will be sending additional information/engagement opportunities about the portal in coming weeks.

To log on:

  1. Go to
  2. Follow the instructions for creating an account under the “Create an Account” option.
  3. Once you are logged in, you may view the discussion page and submit new discussions or respond to others. The members-only forum is only visible to people who have been given access privileges.

Fall Policy Forum – NCL is planning a Fall Forum on Access to Healthcare, and we welcome your ideas or suggestions! Please feel free to contact Karin Bolte ( or Amy Sonderman (


National Consumers League
Published June 22, 2016