National Consumers League

Health Advisory Council Member Updates | Winter 2020

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

Addressing the ongoing affordability challenges from surprise medical billing has emerged as a top policy priority for Congress. Leading employer, union, and health plan organizations have joined forces as part of the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing to advance federal legislation to safeguard consumers against exorbitant, unfair charges. With Congressional leaders working to pass new reforms by May, the Coalition is working with consumer partners and allies in Washington, D.C. and across the country to elevate the voice of consumers and small businesses who bear the brunt of these charges. The Coalition will be highlighting patient voices at the local level and convening briefings here in D.C. to make sure Americans are protected from surprise medical billing moving forward. If your organization is interested in supporting or lending your voice to this effort, please contact Nicole Eynard at neynard@ahip.org

 

BeMedWise

For 2020, the BeMedWise Program at NeedyMeds looks forward to continued collaboration with the BeMedWise Council and our many partners. Current initiatives include planning for the milestone 35th annual Talk About Your Medicines Month (TAYMM) and an updated BeMedWise website currently in beta testing. We value your input and invite NCL Health Advisory Council Members to provide any feedback. The new site URL is BMW.tronics.com. In 2020 we will enhance the site with new educational content, tools, and resources. In the spring we will launch a new consumer newsletter, “How to BeMedWise,” highlighting BeMedWise resources, tips and tools.

BeMedWise is excited to participate in these new projects:

  • The American Pharmacists Association Reducing Cardiovascular Risk beyond LDL: Providing Education Across Healthcare Provider and Patient Communities - Designedto raise awareness and provide healthcare education to community pharmacists and their patients on reducing cardiovascular risk beyond LDL with TGs as the identifier.
  • Connecticut Medication Adherence & Anti-Diversion Solutions (MAADS) Task Force - Serve in an advisory role to review the design and content for an Opioid Package Prototype (OPP) developed by the Task Force as part of an FDA funded study to investigate a new engineering strategy of unit packaging to be implemented in a pilot test to help address the opioid crisis in the state. 

To learn more about our other efforts including opportunities to collaborate on educational program development, webinars and TAYMM, contact Deborah.Davidson@needymeds.org.

 

BIO

BIO is pleased to announce that Michele Oshman has joined as Vice President for External Affairs at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). She also serves as the Executive Director for the Council of State Bioscience Associations (CSBA). BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations across the United States and over 30 countries around the world. As the leader of CSBA, a confederation of state-based, non-profit trade organizations each governed by its own board of directors, she works to advance their mission to promote public understanding of and advocating for public policies that support the responsible development of the bioscience industry.

Ms. Oshman joined BIO in January 2020 after a successful 18-year career at Eli Lilly and Company, where she led federal advocacy outreach. She started her career as a clinical neuroscience researcher and served in multiple clinical development and corporate leadership roles. She earned a Six Sigma Black Belt in 2005 and led multiple transformational efforts across the company before joining the advocacy team in 2007.

 

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

The 12th annual meeting of the PROTECT Initiative (PRevention of Overdoses and Treatment Errors in Children Taskforce) was held at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA on November 21-22, 2019 to provide a forum for reviewing new data, sharing updates on progress, and identifying priority action items for reducing medication exposures and other overdoses among young children in 2020. More information about the PROTECT Initiative can be found at: www.cdc.gov/medicationsafety/protect/protect_initiative.html.

As this year’s cold and flu season gains momentum, the Up and Away campaign, in collaboration with the PROTECT Initiative, is reminding parents and other caregivers to store all medicines up and away—out of sight and reach of young children—after every dose. PROTECT partners are encouraged to share a new testimonial video of one family’s close call during this cold and flu season (December 2019-February 2020), along with #MedsUpAway. For more information on how your organization can participate in this social media rally or to learn more about the PROTECT Initiative, please contact Jennifer Lind (vox2@cdc.gov).

 

Greenwich Biosciences

On January 15, Greenwich Biosciences was among one of several co-conveners of an important event on Capitol Hill, “CBD Summit: A National Dialogue on Public Safety, Research, and Policy.” Other co-conveners including Aimed Alliance, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Food and Drug Law Institute, LegitScript, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Disorders, and the National Council for Behavioral Health helped to educate policymakers, regulators and other key stakeholders on what’s critical to patients and clinicians. Although one wonders whether we would be struggling so much if it was something other than CBD.

More than 140 attendees gained a better understanding of regulations and incentives that are necessary to achieve a system that:

  • Encourages rigorous science-based research that supports, on an ongoing basis, informed decision-making by patients and their clinicians,
  • Ensures that products marketed and sold as consumer goods are properly quality-controlled and otherwise safe for intended use, and
  • Ensures that consumers are not exposed to unsafe levels.

 

Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA)

Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA), the education initiative founded by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, will celebrate its second anniversary in February. AAOA brings together partners from across the healthcare community, including the National Consumers League, pharmacy organizations, providers, patient groups, the aging community and caregiver networks, to raise awareness of the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids.

 Since launching, AAOA has grown to nearly 20 national partners to create educational resources tailored for specific audiences including:

  • Consumer Toolkit developed in collaboration with NCL;
  • Women-Focused Resources developed in collaboration with HealthyWomen;
  • Patient Education Videos featuring physician assistants from the Cleveland Clinic;
  • Video with physicians from The Johns Hopkins Hospital explaining pain as part of the healing process; and,
  • Pharmacy Toolkit developed in collaboration with National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations.

To learn more, visit our website (www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org) and follow AAOA on Twitter (@AAOA_Tweets). 

 

National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)

United States Supreme Grants Cert in Arkansas PBM
On Friday, January 10th, the United States Supreme Court decided to hear the Arkansas PBM case, which will determine the extent to which states can regulate PBMs. NCPA has been working with the Arkansas Pharmacists Association on Rutledge vs PCMA, urging the Court to uphold Arkansas’ right to impose reasonable regulations on PBMs. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an Arkansas PBM law, citing an ERISA preemption, and the state has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The US Solicitor General, the administration’s top litigator, strongly disagreed with the Eighth Circuit and recommended that the Supreme Court settle the matter. NCPA will continue to work with the Arkansas Pharmacists Association in monitoring and supporting this case.

 

United States Pharmacopeia (USP)

January marks the 200th anniversary of USP’s role in building trust in medicines, supplements, and foods through public quality standards that help assure quality and safety. A pivotal moment of the 200th anniversary will be the 2020 Meeting of the USP Convention taking place May 3–6 in Washington, D.C.

The USP Convention, which convenes organization delegates and leaders every five years, is a unique and powerful network of more than 460 Member Organizations from across the healthcare continuum and around the world, uniting to advance access to quality medicines. In addition to helping shape USP’s impact through governance responsibilities such as electing USP’s Board of Trustees and Council of Experts, adopting high-level guiding resolutions and amending the USP bylaws, Convention Delegates will participate in dynamic programming at the meeting. For more information on USP please reach out to Amy Sonderman at amy@usp.org.