National Consumers League

Health Advisory Council Member Updates | Fall 2019

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

During the recent 2019 AHIP National Conference on Medicare and Medicaid, the Modern Medicaid Alliance, of which the National Consumers League is a member, was excited to announce a significant expansion of our “Medicaid Dashboard” — a unique one-stop-shop clearinghouse of Medicaid data that includes state-specific research, information, and polling. The expanded version of the Dashboard provides rich information on high levels of support for the Medicaid program and opposition to program funding cuts in all 50 states. Year-over-year updated data on the site shows a significant increase in favorability toward the program nationwide – with some states seeing up to a 15-percentage point jump in just the past two years. The Alliance – convened by AHIP and including nearly 100 national and state partners – will engage in an extensive social media and digital advertising campaign through October to reach policymakers and advocates who can benefit from the tools available in the Medicaid Dashboard.

AMAG

AMAG Pharmaceuticals recently announced that Vyleesi™ (bremelanotide injection),  a melanocortin receptor agonist indicated for the treatment of acquired, generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women, is now commercially available through specialty pharmacies, Avella and BioPlus. HSDD is a medical condition which impacts approximately 1 in 10 U.S. women and can significantly affect self-esteem, body image, and intimate relationships. Vyleesi is the first treatment for this patient population that can be self-administered in anticipation of sexual activity. For more information visit vyleesi.com.

BeMedWise at NeedyMeds

On October 1, BeMedWise at NeedyMeds kicked-off the 34th “Talk About Your Medicines” Month (TAYMM), Preventing Opioid Misuse and Abuse Across the Ages - from toddlers to older adults. The TAYMM website provides information on Responsible use which includes tips for patients when they discuss their treatment options and non-opioid alternatives with their healthcare provider(s); tips for keeping medicines Up & Away from toddlers and young children; programs and tools developed with the SAMHSA for tweens, teens, college students and young adults; Medication safe use tools for older adults and caregivers; a library of educational programs from BeMedWise Supporters and partners, and more. BeMedWise Supporters, healthcare professionals and health advocates and community leaders participated in the successful Oct. 3. TAYMM Webinar. A TAYMM News Release was disseminated to more than 5,000 contacts, including, the Area Agencies on Aging, local and regional health departments and free and low-cost health clinics. The NCL Health Advisory Council members are invited to join the TAYMM conversation and share the TAYMM webinar (approx. 15 min.) and social media.

BeMedWise and NeedyMeds are actively working to expand their educational program offerings to include “A BeMedWise Corner” on NeedyMeds.org and a BeMedWise Newsletter for consumers that will offer relevant information and tips on safe and appropriate medicine use, storage and disposal. To learn more about how you can get involved in BeMedWise, including opportunities to collaborate on educational program development, webinars and TAYMM, contact Deborah.Davidson@needymeds.org.  

CDC PROTECT | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The 2019 Annual PRevention of Overdoses and Treatment Errors in Children Taskforce (PROTECT) Meeting will be held at the CDC in Atlanta, GA on November 21-22, 2019. The purpose of this meeting is to convene national leaders from industry, academia, professional organizations, and health agencies to share actions, advice and next steps for preventing unintentional overdoses of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) medications in children. For more information about the PROTECT Meeting, please contact Dee Slaughter (DSlaughter2@cdc.gov) and Jennifer Lind (vox2@cdc.gov).

CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping. As of September 24, 2019, 805 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping, have been reported to CDC by 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Those cases included 12 deaths in 10 states (CA (2), GA, FL, IL, IN, KS (2), MN, MO, MS, OR). While this investigation is ongoing, CDC recommends refraining from using e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC. More information about the investigation is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/lunginjury.

Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)

CHPA Educational Foundation

Over the spring and summer, the foundation and CHPA’s internal analgesics task group continued efforts to educate “at-risk” consumers on the safe use and appropriate selection of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Utilizing eye-catching creative and digital audience targeting tactics, we were able to reach both English and Spanish-speaking older adults with certain pre-existing conditions with our important safety messaging. Our efforts generated 143.4 million impressions and more than 146,000 visits to an interactive Pain Reliever Checklist on KnowYourOTCs.org.

Additionally, over the summer, the foundation was busy publishing several new pieces of expert content to its consumer-facing website, including guides on sun safety, first-aid kits, and important conversations to have with your college student about medicine safety. We also expanded KnowYourOTCs.org content on heartburn and dietary supplements. Lastly, we are thrilled to announce that our KnowYourOTCs digital campaign recently took home two awards for its social media presence – Social Media Campaign of the Year (PR Daily’s 2019 Digital Marketing and Social Media Awards) and On A Shoestring Campaign (PRNEWS’ 2019 PR Platinum Awards).

Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA)

The National Consumers League is a partner with Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA) — a national education and awareness initiative to help combat the nation's opioid abuse epidemic that launched in February 2018. Recent AAOA developments include: 

  • Partnering with NCL to launch a new suite of resources to help educate consumers around prescription opioid safety efforts. The AAOA-NCL Consumer Toolkit provides resources to help reinforce the importance of patients, caregivers, parents and others understanding the rights, risks and responsibilities of prescription opioid use.
  • Launching the “AAOA-HealthyWomen Toolkit in mid-August. This toolkit aims to address the knowledge gap in understanding the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids, and offers actionable steps for women.
  • Releasing two videos in partnership with the PA (Physician Assistant) Foundation featuring a team of physician assistants from the Cleveland Clinic to educate patients and caregivers about prescription opioid safety. The videos — “Questions to Ask Your Provider: Pain Management and Prescription Opioids” and “Things You Need to Know About Prescription Opioids”—underscore the importance of patients and their healthcare providers having open and honest conversations about pain management. 
  • Presenting a campaign overview at the National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC) Quality Transitions conference on September 18 in Washington, D.C. Led by John Parker, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (AAOA’s founding partner) the overview highlighted the resources available to NTOCC members as they support patients transitioning between different sites of care.

Please contact Lee Lynch (llynch@reservoircg.com) for more information on how your organization can collaborate with AAOA.