Advocacy in Action

May 26, 2023

Key Congressional Committee Approves Special Diabetes Program Legislation

The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved legislation reauthorizing the Special Diabetes Program (SDP). The Endocrine Society worked with the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus to educate Congress about the importance of fully reauthorizing SDP before its funding expires September 30. The bill would reauthorize both components of SDP (the SDP, which provides additional funding to the National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for type 1 diabetes research and the SDPI, which provides support for prevention and diabetes programs to American Indians and Alaska Natives through the Indian Health Service) for two years at $170 million per-program per-year, which is a 13% increase compared to current funding.  We are pleased this bill is advancing. Now we will focus on ensuring that there is enough support in the House to pass the legislation when it is brought to the floor for a vote.

We are still advocating for a complimentary SDP bill to be introduced in the Senate. For those who haven’t taken action, there is still time to join our online advocacy campaign to urge your senators to support a long-term extension of SDP.  We encourage all US members to take action today!

Endocrine Society Educates Congress about Insulin Affordability

On May 22 the Endocrine Society participated in a bipartisan Congressional briefing hosted by the Congressional Diabetes Caucus to educate Members of Congress and their staff about insulin affordability. The purpose of the briefing was to discuss the history of insulin production, usage, and pricing, as well as the insulin manufacturers’ price cap announcements.

Earlier this year, the three insulin manufacturers announced that they would cap insulin out-of-pocket costs. During the briefing, Endocrine Society Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rob Lash, explained what these announcements mean for patients and providers. The manufacturers’ announcements are an important step toward improving insulin affordability, but there are still significant challenges that need to be addressed. During his presentation, Dr. Lash pointed out that there is no guarantee that a patient’s insulin will be covered by the manufacturer’s program or that a patient’s pharmacy is participating in the manufacturer’s program. Many patients continue to pay retail price for their insulin.

The briefing was well attended by Congressional staff on both sides of the aisle. The Endocrine Society will continue to work with the Congressional Diabetes Caucus on making insulin affordable.

Image Endocrine Society Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rob Lash speaks to Congressional staff about insulin affordability.

NIH Incorporates Endocrine Society’s Feedback on Changes to Peer Review

In February, the Endocrine Society submitted a response to the NIH’s Request for Information (RFI) on proposed changes to grant peer review. The NIH proposed a simplified framework for scoring grant applications to reorganize five major regulatory criteria into three scored categories and solicited feedback on these changes. With input from members of the Research Affairs Core Committee, we believed these changes would help alleviate the high administrative burden on reviewers and reduce implicit or reputational bias against applicants. However, we noted that in order for this to be effective, training of peer reviewers needs to be a priority.

Recently, the NIH provided an analysis of comments they received for this RFI, and we were pleased to see our recommendations were well-received and amplified by other submissions. As we highlighted in our response, the NIH noted the need for it to develop strong, effective training for reviewers and clear communication to the community regarding these changes. We will notify our members as soon as reviewer training and the timeline for the rollout of the new criteria are announced.

Preparing for a Busy Summer of EDC Regulations

The Endocrine Society is engaged in several developments with regulatory implications for EDCs around the world

In the United States, we are preparing to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding a new regulation to set limits for PFAS in drinking waterWe support the proposed regulation, which recognizes that there is potentially no safe level for these substances

In the European Union, we are evaluating a proposal by the German government to assess a group of bisphenols for harmful effects on endocrine systems.  This group-based approach is a novel way to address classes of chemicals, and we want to ensure that the proposal helps prevent so-called regrettable substitutions.  Additionally, Endocrine Society members Leo Trasande, MD, MPP and Marina Fernandez, PhD will participate in Paris at the second meeting of the International Negotiating Committee to develop a treaty to end plastic pollution.  During this meeting, we will meet with representatives from various governments to urge them to incorporate health-based objectives in the treaty, as well as measures to reduce plastic production and prevent the use of hazardous EDCs as additives in plastic products.  

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We rely on your voice to advocate for our policy priorities. Join us to show our strength as a community that cares about endocrinology. Contact your U.S representatives or European Members of Parliament through our online platform. Take action and make a difference today.

We rely on your voice to advocate for our policy priorities. Join us to show our strength as a community that cares about endocrinology. Contact your U.S representatives or European Members of Parliament through our online platform. Take action and make a difference today.

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For 100 years, the Endocrine Society has been at the forefront of hormone science and public health. Read about our history and how we continue to serve the endocrine community.