Dr. Meadows, Dr. Imbeau, and Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC7).
Our Advocacy Council Strike Force descended on Washington, D.C. to lobby on May 11 and 12. The perfect example of your DASH dollars at work – we were fighting for continued affordable allergy shots for our patients. Strike Force members personally met with congressional leaders and aides with whom they have existing relationships. We went ourselves and talked about allergy shots directly with people we knew, who were ready and willing to listen to us and who trust our information.
Our Strike Force consisted of 11 College members* who called on 37 congressional offices for meetings in D.C. Joined with our partners from the Allergy and Asthma Network (AAN), we had a combined force of more than 89 people calling on about 120 congressional offices. AAN brought patients to D.C. to tell their personal stories to Members of Congress. Joining with AAN really strengthened our message – having our patients with us brought a face to our message, and made our words even more effective.
"By far, this was the most impactful Strike Force visit ever,” said Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI, chair of the Advocacy Council. “Over the years, we have been working to develop relationships with the people on the Hill that matter! Our work has paid off and will help us preserve allergy shots for future generations. Fully integrating our efforts with AAN gives us the ability to have a much bigger impact. It is my perception that Congress, in a bi-partisan manner, is on our side. If USP takes action that hurts our patients’ ability to get allergy shots, I believe Congress will act."
Many members of the Strike Force called on key leaders, including the Senate Majority Leader, congressmen on committees with key jurisdictions, those who themselves and/or their families benefit from allergy shots, and those with existing contacts at USP. We were able to thank, in person, Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL4), for the language placed in the FDA appropriations bills, and Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA9) for getting us a meeting with USP. We also had a very productive meeting with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee.
Dr. Sublett, Dr. Meadows, Dr. Imbeau, and Martha Roby (R-AL2).
The Strike Force educated congressional leaders so they are aware of the compounding issue and asked them to join the Congressional Allergy and Asthma Caucus, who have slated USP as the focus of their next meeting.
“We met with core leadership of the Senate and House teams – with great reception. They are involved with, or control funding for the FDA for any new regulations on small volume compounding for allergy office shots and vials,” said Stephen Imbeau, MD, FACAAI, vice-chair of the Advocacy Council. “The leadership of the Senate HELP Committee understands our issues of shelf life and sterility, and they respect our presence and knowledge base. Our key House contacts have put us into direct contact with the FDA and USP. We will keep you posted – in the meantime, continue to contribute to DASH…your profession and your patients still need your help.”
During our visits, we also discussed increasing the support for grants for school personnel to administer asthma-related quick-relief medications, and support for the expansion of telehealth coverage under Medicare.
Al Triunifo representing AAN, Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA3), and Dr. Fineman.
In other news on the DASH front, Myngoc Nguyen, MD, FACAAI, personally spoke with California Governor Jerry Brown with whom she is acquainted and followed up the conversation with a formal letter asking his assistance in ensuring the continued availability of affordable immunotherapy for our patients. Connecting with your personal political contacts are essential to our fight. Let us know what you are doing or how we can help.
*J. Allen Meadows, MD
Stephen A. Imbeau, MD
James Sublett, MD
John Seyerle, MD
James Tracy, DO
Kathleen May, MD
Stanley Fineman, MD
Dane McBride, MD
Maeve O’Connor, MD
Purvi Parikh, MD
Steven Kagen, MD