Healthcare innovation saves lives, saves money, promotes economic growth, and provides hope for hundreds of millions of people (both patients and care-givers) in the United States and around the world. But innovation isn’t easy. There are many roadblocks beyond those of discovery and development. The complicated and conflicting dynamics of politics, perspectives on healthcare economics, of friction between payers, providers, manufacturers, and regulators, the battle for better patient education, and the need for a more forceful and factual debate over the value of innovation all create the need for a more balanced and robust debate. The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) is...
While the annual flu vaccine saves thousands of lives every year , most people don’t give much thought to the work that takes place behind the scenes to determine what’s in that injection. The US has a system for national influenza surveillance which collects data from across the US to identify which influenza viruses are circulating, if the current season’s vaccine is a good match, and which viruses should be included in the next year’s vaccine. Preparations for next season’s flu vaccine start at the beginning of each flu season. In fact, it is the specimens collected at the beginning of each new flu season that help inform vaccine virus selection for the next year. Public health...
Over the course of his last few weeks before retiring, Speaker Boehner worked with fellow House and Senate leaders and the President to fashion a budget deal that increases the nation’s debt limit and provides an additional $80 billion above sequestration-level spending caps. Both non-defense and defense programs will receive $25 billion more in fiscal year 2016 (FY16) and $15 billion more in FY 2017. The House has passed this budget plan, and the Senate is expected to follow suit by Tuesday. See our statement . Passing this deal is step one. Step two is allocating top-line budget numbers across the 12 appropriations subcommittees (these allocations are known as “302(b)s”). This will likely...
This blog post is part of a weekly series focusing on different aspects of public health leading up to Public Health Thank You Day on Monday November 23, 2015. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #PHTYD and visit http://www.publichealththankyouday.org (link is external) for more information. Dr. Carrie Bearden, clinical neuroscientist at UCLA seeks to understand the underlying biology of mood disorders in teens The rate of mood disorders nearly doubles when children enter adolescence. Dr. Carrie Bearden, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Psychology at UCLA, seeks to understand why. She uses interdisciplinary approaches to examine the role of circadian...
Dear Research Advocate, Former VP candidate and Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-01) appears poised to become the next Speaker of the House. This turn of events improves the outlook for a budget deal, potentially including FY16 funding, sequestration relief for one or two years, and a new debt limit. See our letter with United for Medical Research and two major defense industry associations on the negative consequences of sequestration. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) made news this week reaffirming his willingness to consider mandatory spending for NIH in his Innovation Initiative. To turn “maybe” into “yes,” advocates must be heard. Earlier this week, a...
This blog post is part of a weekly series focusing on different aspects of public health leading up to Public Health Thank You Day on Monday November 23, 2015. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #PHTYD and visit http://www.publichealththankyouday.org for more information. Psychologist Dr. Mary Ellen Weissman discusses the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of learning disorders in children to the public health All parents want their children to reach their potential and experience success within the home, school and community. But what happens when a child fails to thrive in one or more of these areas and a mental health issue is suspected? While estimates vary...
From a challenge that raised millions and created buzz worldwide to groundbreaking research of a Nobel laureate whose contributions to cancer research are far-reaching, Research!America’s 2016 Advocacy Award honorees are individuals and organizations who are trailblazers in advocacy for medical and health research. The event will be held on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Dr. Harold Varmus, a Lewis Thomas University professor at the Meyer Cancer Center of Weill Cornell Medicine, will be honored with the Legacy Award. Dr. Varmus is the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for studies of the genetic basis of cancer and is a...
Dear Research Advocate: Advocacy works. More members of Congress are speaking out in support of research, including at a Senate Labor-H Appropriations Subcommittee hearing featuring testimony from NIH Director Francis Collins and several NIH Institute Directors. Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) summed up the limitations created by the sequestration caps succinctly: “We cannot cap innovation, we cannot cap breakthroughs.” Labor-H Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) underscored the point that both the subcommittee and full appropriations committee support biomedical research as a high priority. The subcommittee’s Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke of...
National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) represents the patient’s voice nationwide, particularly those struggling with chronic, debilitating or life-threatening illness. As the advocacy affiliate of the Patient Advocate Foundation, which provides free case management and copay relief services to thousands of patients across the country, we translate the experience of patients who have been denied access to affordable, quality health care into national and state policy initiatives. The patients served by the Patient Advocate Foundation often experience major financial barriers to accessing the care they need. Because the majority of these patients are insured, these barriers manifest...
It’s an exciting time for health policy. Patients, and broadly all Americans, are gaining more influence when it comes to how our federal agencies are conducting research and developing medications, devices, and treatments. We’ve seen it with the groundbreaking 21 st Century Cures Act , passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in July. And we’re seeing it in action right now with the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA V), which, in part, is working to more systematically gather patients’ perspectives on their disease and its impact on daily life, the types of treatment benefit that matter most to patients, and adequacy of the available therapies. People with Parkinson’s and their...

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America’s economic destiny lies in innovation, technology, science and research.
The Honorable John E. Porter