This week’s Washington headlines were dominated by the continuation of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. However, we also saw important congressional action supporting Endocrine Society legislative priorities:
Appropriations – The House of Representatives passed the combined Labor-HHS/Defense spending package. The same bill passed the Senate last week. The bill, which includes $39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – a $2 Billion increase – is a huge victory for the medical research community and now heads to the President to sign the bill into law. According to the latest Washington Post indications, the president WILL sign it before the September 30 deadline. When signed, this would mark the first time in 22 years that Congress has finalized the NIH budget prior to the end of the fiscal year.
Please join the Endocrine Society in thanking your members of Congress for funding medical research and making funding for the NIH a national priority.
Prescription Drug Pricing – The House passed two Senate bills seeking to eliminate pharmacy drug price disclosure restrictions (“Gag rules”) imposed by health plans. One bill targets disclosure restrictions on exchange plans and employer-offered health policies (S 2554), while another bill targets Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans (S 2553). The first bill also establishes additional Federal Trade Commission disclosure and reporting requirements for biosimilar biological products. If brand name biologic and biosimilar manufacturers enter into a financial settlement regarding a biosimilar drug, both companies must disclose that agreement to the FTC. Brand name and generic manufacturers already have to file such disclosures. We had supported this legislation.
Advocacy in Action –
On October 1 we will conduct a Clinician Hill Day and Congressional Briefing to discuss access to affordable insulin and diabetes self-management training legislation. We are very pleased to visit congressional offices with patient advocates from the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC).