National Consumers League

NCL health policy updates | Health Advisory Council Newsletter | 2016 Q1

Script Your Future Medication Adherence Campaign – 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 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.
  • Team Challenge: As part of the Script Your Future campaign, in January NCL launched the 5th annual Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a competition that encourages health profession students and faculty across the nation to develop creative ideas, events, and initiatives to raise public awareness about the importance of medication adherence. Along with NCL, the 2016 Challenge is sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, American Medical Association (AMA), National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). Since the Challenge began in 2011, more than 6,000 future health care professionals have directly counseled more than 22,000 patients and reached more than 9 million consumers in this concerted public effort about the importance of medication adherence. Stay tuned: this year’s winners will be announced in May.

Clear Choices Campaign – Along with members of the Clear Choices Campaign, a multi-stakeholder advocacy association dedicated to making health markets more transparent and consumer-friendly, NCL’s Health Policy Director Karin Bolte met with Kevin Counihan, director & marketplace CEO at CMS’ Center for Consumer and Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), to share recommendations to improve the consumer-facing features and tools of

Clear Choices also called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to put more accurate, intelligible health care data in the hands of health care consumers and stakeholders.

Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group – In January, NCL, along with colleagues in the health care, consumer, patient, labor, and business communities, submitted detailed comments on a Dec. 18 policy options document circulated by the Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group. Advocacy groups called for legislative action and praised the policy options document for putting forth strategies to: 1) engage consumers in their own health and health care; 2) expand care coordination for the highest cost, highest need beneficiaries; and 3) modernize Medicare provider payment.

Generic drugs – NCL has long been a supporter of generic drugs as a good way for consumers to save money on medications. However, NCL believes that it is critically important that all prescription drugs–both brand name and generic–carry current and adequate safety warnings. In March, NCL joined a letter to the FDA urging the agency to finalize proposed regulations that would allow generic drug manufacturers to initiate safety, efficacy, and dosing updates to their products’ labeling. Promptly updated labeling allows health care providers and patients to make better informed health decisions and can help prevent serious harm to patients.

Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition – NCL is an active member of the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC), whose mission is to develop and help enact a federal policy proposal that would enable Medicare beneficiary access to, and payment for, Medicare Part B services by state-licensed pharmacists in medically underserved communities. Reimbursing pharmacists for patient care services will expand access to care in rural and urban areas, increase care coordination, allow seniors to access health care services in their communities, and encourage health care teams that include pharmacists. NCL has been working with PAPCC to plan a patient advocacy briefing taking place March 21.