Society Advocates for Diabetes Prevention,
Research, Treatment, & Coverage Legislation
As Congress moves forward with its health agenda, the Endocrine Society has a number of priorities for diabetes prevention, treatment, and research legislation under consideration. These priorities include funding for the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP), renewal of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), and Medicare coverage for continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).
National Diabetes Prevention Program Funding
The Society is a leading advocate for funding for the NDPP, a program that uses lifestyle intervention to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes among individuals with prediabetes. The Society has advocated for increased funding for the program on Capitol Hill and with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
With support from the Society, the Chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus (CDC) recently circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter requesting support for prioritizing funding for the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, and the NDPP.
The NDPP has demonstrated great success through its expansion to over 794 sites in 39 states, and it could save the country as much as $190 billion if fully expanded. A testament to this success is the launch of an initiative from the CDC and the American Medical Association called, Prevent Diabetes STAT: Screen, Test, Act–Today. The initiative intends to raise awareness about prediabetes and increase screening and referral to evidence-based diabetes prevention programs that are a part of the NDPP.
Special Diabetes Program Reauthorization
In addition to funding for the NDPP, the SDP funding is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015, if Congress fails to act. The SDP was created in 1997 to advance research for type 1 diabetes and to address the disproportionate burden of type 2 diabetes on American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN). Through this funding, the Special Type 1 Program has advanced research in islet cell transplantation, beta cell therapy, treatment for diabetic retinopathy, and innovative therapies like the artificial pancreas. The SDP for Indians has also shown great success by helping AIAN prevent and manage type 2 diabetes resulting in significant reductions in A1c and amputation as well as improvements in blood pressure and kidney function. The Society has advocated for funding of these programs for a number of years and continues to urge Congress to reauthorize the SDP by the September deadline in visits with Congress and in Society appropriations testimony.
Medicare Coverage for CGM
Medicare coverage for CGM has been a key priority for the Society. Over the past two years, the Society has met with key officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Health and Human Services, and the White House to secure Medicare coverage for CGM. Because Medicare coverage has not been resolved, the Society and its coalition partners worked to introduce the Medicare CGM Access Act last year. The legislation, which was sponsored by Senators Collins and Shaheen and Representatives DeGette and Whitfield, was reintroduced in Congress last month. The Society will continue to work to build support for this important legislation.
Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
Costs EU Billions — EDC News Conference
Simulcast at ENDO and in Europe
On Thursday, March 5, as part of the Endocrine Society’s media outreach, the Endocrine Society conducted a news conference at ENDO 2015 focusing on the latest science surrounding endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). During the news conference, Leonardo Trasande, MD, presented the results from a series of four publications released on the same day in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).
The publications described the results of an economic analysis that found exposure to EDCs likely costs the European Union €157 billion ($209 billion) a year in actual healthcare expenses and lost earnings potential. The analysis, conducted by a group of leading experts in several fields, concluded that infertility and male reproductive dysfunctions, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurobehavioral and learning disorders were among the conditions than can be attributed in part to exposure to EDCs. The €157 billion estimate is conservative and represents 1.23% of Europe’s gross domestic product (GDP). These costs may actually be as high as €270 billion ($359 billion), or 2% of GDP.
The results are particularly timely given that, at the time this article was written, the European Commission is conducting an impact assessment for EDCs. The impact assessment will weigh the health risks of exposure to EDCs, taking into account the latest science and input from public stakeholders, including the Endocrine Society. Importantly, the impact assessment will also include the anticipated economic costs of various regulatory approaches to EDCs. The new results presented by Trasande are, therefore, critically important to help the European Commission accurately assess the economic consequences of health impacts due to EDC exposures and balance this analysis against the anticipated costs of regulation.
To ensure that the results achieve maximum impact in the European Union, the Endocrine Society simulcast the news conference at a special event in Brussels, Belgium. As part of the event, Endocrine Society member Philippe Grandjean, MD, moderated an educational briefing for participants following the news conference. Participants included representatives from international non-governmental organizations, members of the media, and a representative from the European Commission. These highly attended events, coupled with a strategic media outreach plan, resulted in press coverage from a number of highprofile media outlets including BBC News, Le Monde, TIME magazine, the Weather Channel’s website, and National Geographic.