NCL health policy updates | Health Advisory Council Newsletter | 2016 Q4

MyHealthPlan.Guide launch. In October, in preparation for Open Enrollment, NCL and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) launched MyHealthPlan.Guide, a comprehensive online tool that informs, educates, and engages consumers to better understand how health insurance works. The site provides consumers with easy-to-access, straightforward information to determine the health insurance coverage that is right for them and how to best use it to meet their personal health needs.

Modern Medicaid Alliance. NCL recently joined the Modern Medicaid Alliance as an original member. Launched in October and coordinated by AHIP, the Modern Medicaid Alliance is a partnership between individuals and leading advocacy organizations to educate policymakers and the public about the positive benefits and results of Medicaid.

Script Your Future medication adherence campaign: On December 5-6, NCL’s Health Policy team presented an overview of the Script Your Future Campaign at the Suboptimal Medication Use and Population Health – Intersection of Research, Implementation, and Policy conference in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the PhRMA Foundation, Prescriptions for a Healthy America, and the Medication Adherence Alliance, the conference brought together researchers and stakeholders to identify opportunities for future research, collaboration, and policy change to improve medication use and adherence.

Biosimilar and generic drug user fees. On October 20, Sally Greenberg testified at FDA’s Public Meeting in support of reauthorization of the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA II). NCL expressed its support for biosimilar user fees, which help to provide the FDA with the resources needed to enhance the science-based review of new biosimilar products for patients with serious diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. On November 16, NCL submitted comments to the FDA in support of the reauthorization of the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA II). NCL particularly supports providing the FDA with additional resources to address the generic drug backlog currently pending at the agency. In both sets of comments, NCL urged the FDA to act independently of industry influence and to uphold its high standards for safety, efficacy, and quality of drug products. 

Drug compounding. In October, NCL submitted a series of three comments in support of FDA guidances to industry on the topics of insanitary conditions at compounding facilities and compounded drug products that are essentially copies of commercially available or approved drug products. NCL noted that compounding, while an important part of pharmacy practice, can place consumers at unnecessary risks since compounded drugs are not FDA-approved. For this reason, NCL supports the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act’s restrictions on compounding drug products that are essentially copies of commercially available or FDA approved drugs. In addition, NCL stressed the importance of the immediate identification and remediation of insanitary conditions in compounding facilities, which further place consumers and patients at risk for infections or other dire consequences. 

CDC PROTECT Initiative. In October, Karin Bolte, NCL’s health policy director, attended the 9th annual meeting of the CDC’s PROTECT initiative at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The PROTECT Initiative brings together consumer and patient advocates, public health agencies, private sector companies, professional organizations, and academic experts to develop strategies to keep children safe from unintentional medication overdoses. Topics discussed included packaging to prevent ingestions, standardization for error prevention, and improving safe use and storage.