National Consumers League

Health Advisory Council Newsletter | Summer 2015

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Welcome to the first issue of the Health Advisory Council Newsletter!

The purpose of our quarterly newsletter is to share Council news and events, as well as current NCL initiatives. We release this first issue on the heels of the Supreme Court ruling in King vs. Burwell, which upheld the tax credits under the Affordable Care Act and puts us another step closer toward the goal of providing health insurance for all Americans, a longstanding principle endorsed by NCL founders and leaders throughout our 115-year history.

Since May's inaugural meeting, NCL and Council members have been active on many fronts. Please read on for policy updates, Q and A’s with two Council members, upcoming events, and more.

1health_icon.png NCL Health Policy at Work 

Access  to medications, health care, information, coverage – is a prominent theme among members as a priority, as well as in the issues we are addressing at NCL. And with the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, access to health care for millions under the Affordable Care Act will continue, even while we work to ensure consumers have access to critical medications and treatments they need. The Supreme Court’s 6-3 vote is a major victory for consumers nationwide.

Read on for more updates about NCL's health policy work.

1spotlight_icon.png Member spotlight

Get to know two Health Advisory Council members - Astellas and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - with our new Q&A's

1listen.png We want to hear from you!

We are currently seeking Council member input on the planning of an NCL health policy briefing in late 2015 / early 2016. Please get in touch with Kamay Lafalaise (kamayl@nclnet.org) if you are interested in participating in a small working group. 

1members.png Updates on Member Programs

Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) - Updated Consumer Resource Available to Promote Safe Acetaminophen Use; Up and Away Campaign

In partnership with the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC), the Know Your Dose campaign is excited to announce an updated resource for consumers to learn how to safely use medicines containing acetaminophen. It begins by following four safe use steps:

  1. Always read and follow the medicine label
  2. Know if your medicines contain acetaminophen
  3. Never take two acetaminophen-containing medicines at the same time
  4. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions

On the updated site, you’ll find an interactive medicine label reader, a list of common medicines containing acetaminophen, and an interactive game. Take a tour of the updated site, KnowYourDose.org.

Did you know that approximately 60,000 young children visit emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines that were unintentionally left within sight and reach? This Grandparents Day (September 13th), the Up and Away campaign will be reminding families—especially those with both young children and grandparents in the home—to keep their medicines and vitamins up and away (and out of sight). To help spread the word and to receive social media graphics, posts, and links to the campaign’s resources—including safety tip sheets, and even a coloring book for children—please email thollern@chpa.org. Up and Away is an initiative of PROTECT in partnership with the CDC.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare – OTC Literacy Program

OTC Literacy is the result of a partnership between American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) and Scholastic publishing, with support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare.  These organizations have come together to develop a free comprehensive education program that reaches 5th and 6th graders with the objective of teaching responsible medicine use and storage. Modeled after the FDA’s Medicines in My Home program, OTC Literacy’s proven results have led to its acceptance for a live presentation at the annual Safe Kids Worldwide Prevention Convention in July. The program is gearing up its 4th year launch in mid-October. Visit http://www.scholastic.com/otcliteracy/ for more details!

National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) – Talk About Your Medicines Month this October

Talk About Your Medicines Month (October 2015) - This October marks the 30th annual observance of “Talk About Your Medicines Month” by the National Council on Patient Information and Education to call attention to the impact that high-quality patient—healthcare provider communication can play in promoting better medicine use and better health outcomes. “Talk About Your Medicines” Month messaging is “evergreen” and can be used throughout the year. Visit TalkAboutRx.org for details.  

The Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) – Beyond the Bruises Campaign

The Society for Women’s Health Research is a national non-profit and thought leader in research on sex differences in health and disease, recently launched “Beyond the Bruises,” an online campaign uniting survivors, advocates, organizations, and celebrities in bringing awareness to the effects of domestic violence on chronic diseases. The campaign features a short film that shares the stories of domestic violence survivors who struggle with chronic diseases as a result of their abuse, as well as the website BeyondtheBruises.org, a resource center that houses information on the often unrecognized effects of domestic violence on chronic illness.

United States Pharmacopeia (USP) – Quality and Safety of Dietary Supplements

Protecting public health by ensuring the quality of medicines has been the mission of the United States Pharmacopeia since its founding almost 200 years ago. USP quality standards for drugs are recognized in US law and enforced by the FDA. USP also creates standards for dietary supplements and provides seals of approval on supplements that meet their rigorous testing program. However, dietary supplements are regulated as a food, not a medicine, and USP standards are voluntary. 

There is growing concern about the quality and safety of dietary supplements. The USP Verified Mark reassures consumers that what is on the label is actually in the bottle.  More information about third-party verification programs can be found highlighted in a recent Newsweek article and a New York Times blog

1trumpeter.png NCL's 2015 Trumpeter Awards

For more than 40 years, NCL’s Trumpeter Award has recognized leaders who speak out for social justice, public health, and for the rights of consumers. Recipients have included FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, legislators, investigative journalists, and others.

On October 6, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and the Honorable Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, will receive the 2015 Trumpeter Awards. Join us for an evening of celebrating their careers, as well as the work of NCL. Learn more about the 2015 Trumpeter Award.

1news.png NCL in the news

CBS This MorningFDA taking another look at sex drug for women
Huffington PostLittle-known provision of the Affordable Care Act is about to pay major dividends for US consumers
The Washington PostFDA advisory panel recommends approval of 'female Viagra'
The New York TimesAid to women, or bottom line? Advocates split on libido pill
Fox News: 'Female Viagra' is dividing the women's health community
The HillFDA should rescind switch to electronic drug labeling
NCL statement applauding CA legislation to ban vaccine personal exemptions
NCL statement in support of San Francisco move on sugary beverages


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