Advocacy

Advocacy in Action

November 15, 2019

What’s Happening in Washington

Drug Pricing Action Blocked in Senate as Democrats Hold Out for Bolder Steps – This week Senators tried to pass two modest bipartisan drug pricing bills, but Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) blocked the effort, saying that the passage of smaller bills would decrease the chances for broader legislation.  Senator Schumer said the bipartisan measures were “decently intended,” but would not go far enough to lower health care costs.  This action underscores the challenges that lawmakers face in trying to pass health care legislation this year.  Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are hopeful the Senate will consider legislation to lower prescription drug prices, but reaching an agreement has so far proven difficult.  Democrats want to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, as included in the bill (HR 3) Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has introduced in the House of Representatives.  Most Republicans, however, oppose allowing Medicare to use its power to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies, but say they want to take more narrowly focused steps to lower drug costs.  We continue to advocate for lower drug prices, particularly for insulin, which has seen its price nearly triple in recent years.  

Appropriations – Congressional Appropriators continue to try to find a path forward for the fiscal year 2020 appropriations, with less than a week left until the current Continuing Resolution runs out.  We understand that they expect not to be able to finalize appropriations, but rather pass another stopgap funding bill that would last until sometime in December with the intention of enacting a final appropriations law, including funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by the end of the calendar year.  In fact, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has told House Democrats to plan to remain in session a week past the current adjournment date of December 12.  We will have to see if we get a Christmas miracle… In the meantime, we continue to advocate that Congress finalize funding and provide NIH with at least a $2 billion increase.


What We are Working on

Our NEW Online Advocacy Campaign:  Renewal of the Special Diabetes Program - November is Diabetes Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise public awareness about the 114 million Americans living with or at-risk for diabetes and to advocate for prevention, treatment, and research in the field. One of our top priorities is renewing the Special Diabetes Program, which will expire on November 21 if Congress does not act now. The program provides type 1 diabetes research funding and education and treatment programs for at-risk populations. It has proven to be a critical pathway to preventing and treating diabetes and its complications.  Help us ensure that this critical program is extended for another five years by asking your Member of Congress to renew the Special Diabetes Program.

Taking action is faster and easier than ever. Our new online advocacy campaign can help you influence Congress and ensure that they hear from you. Simply click here and make your voice heard today!

Diabetes Legislation - This week, we met with the offices of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus co-chairs (Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) to discuss legislative advancements in diabetes and opportunities to expand the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), reduce barriers to diabetes self-management training (DSMT) services, and ensure renewal of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP). There has been recent progress in pursuing a virtual DPP option, including a letter of support circulated by 19 Senators. Legislation on DSMT was also reintroduced this year and has been building momentum. Currently, there 56 House members and 13 Senators who have co-sponsored the bill. We will continue to advocate for both these issues and will let our members about key opportunities to take action. 

Regulation of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in the European Union - Last week, the European Commission Environment Directorate-General (DG-ENV) hosted the first annual stakeholder forum on Endocrine Disruptors.  The forum builds upon the November 2018 Commission Communication on EDCs and gathered stakeholders from a variety of sectors to exchange information and inform the Commissions efforts towards a revised EU strategy on EDCs.  Endocrine Society EU EDC Task Force members Barbara Demeneix and Remy Slama participated in the event; Dr. Slama delivered a presentation on the scientific evidence for endocrine disruption, and Dr. Demeneix shared her expertise on the application of EU legislation to EDCs and the perspectives of scientific societies.  We will bring Endocrine Society members from seven EU countries to Brussels in December to meet with Members of the European Parliament and European Commission to share the latest science on EDCs and advocate for the EU to take immediate further action to reduce exposure for citizens and the environment.

Transparency in Regulatory Science - On November 13, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the US House of Representatives conducted a hearing focused on the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) revised rule: “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.”  The proposal aims to limit the studies used by the agency to design regulations to research where all raw data is disclosed including, medical records, for independent validation.  Additionally, the rule would be applied retroactively to remove from consideration pivotal studies where human participants contributed after signing confidentiality agreements.  We opposed the original EPA transparency rule and signed on to a coalition letter against the revised rule submitted to the Committee in advance of the hearing.  

Latest Policy Communications

  • Letter to House Science Committee on EPA Transparency Rule – November 13, 2019 
    We joined a group letter to the House Science Committee leaders regarding the EPA’s recently revised transparency rule to share that we oppose the rule and EPA’s efforts to restrict the use of the best available science. 
  • Letter to CMS on Medicare Coverage Restrictions for Therapeutic CGMs – November 6, 2019 
    We joined AACE, AADE, ADA, and JDRF in a letter to the Director of the Coverage and Analysis Group at CMS, Dr. Tamara Syrek Jensen, in response to Medicare coverage restrictions that limit access to therapeutic continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems to beneficiaries who have been performing frequent (four or more times a day) self-testing with a blood glucose monitor (BGM).
  • Comments on Medicare Model Guidelines Version 8.0 – Nov. 1, 2019 
    We joined the Obesity Care Network (OCAN) to provide comments on the structure content and organization of the United States Pharmacopeia’s (USP) Medical Model Guidelines (MMG) Version 8.0 and emphasized that we remain concerned over the Medicare programs’ continuing failure to allow the USP to include categories and classes for anti-obesity agents.
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Join us in lending your voice to our online advocacy to support our policy priorities, endocrinology, and science. Contact your U.S representatives or European Members of Parliament through our online platform. Take action and make a difference today.

Join us in lending your voice to our online advocacy to support our policy priorities, endocrinology, and science. Contact your U.S representatives or European Members of Parliament through our online platform. Take action and make a difference today.

Member Spotlight

Advocating for Better Policies and Regulations

Barbara Demeneix, B.Sc., PhD, D.Sc
Professor Demeneix has been a tireless scientist and advocate for more protective policies that will improve public and ecological health.  We thank her for her leadership and dedication!

Barbara Demeneix, BSc, PhD, DSc

Professor Demeneix has been a tireless scientist and advocate for more protective policies that will improve public and ecological health.  We thank her for her leadership and dedication!

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