By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

Presidential Candidates Suggest Bold Steps for High Drug Prices

With the 2020 presidential election cycle in full swing, some Democratic candidates are pushing an aggressive proposal to combat the rising costs of prescription drugs by potentially ending patents for high-cost medications. Breaking the patent of an existing drug to allow competitors to make a cheaper version is a bold step to combat the drug pricing issue, but the potential proposal doesn't seem to be getting much negative push back from either side of the aisle. Many see it as a way to keep the industry in check, and the provision makes for great political fodder on the campaign trail.

Known as the march-in rule, this federal provision allows the president to break patents that restrict generic competitors from duplicating a drug at lower costs to consumers. If the industry does not volunteer to work with Congress for alternative pricing solutions, this proposal might see the light of day. Americans are angry, frustrated, and scared that they won't be able to afford lifesaving medications for themselves or their loved ones. Oncology nurses see this all too often and must speak to their real-life stories and experiences to ensure patients with cancer have a voice in the conversation. 

Bill Aims to Limit E-Cigarette Nicotine Levels

Taking bold steps against the youth vaping epidemic and tobacco use, U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced a bill to lower nicotine levels in e-cigarettes and vaping products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released a similar statement, suggesting lower nicotine levels could keep new smokers from addiction and prevent 8.5 million deaths by 2100.

Several bills have been proposed on Capitol Hill and most representatives believe the Energy and Commerce committee will select a hybrid piece of legislation as part of a bipartisan solution. ONS supports the fight against youth vaping and is working with congressional offices to educate elected officials and staff about its impact on the public health. 

Representative Lowey Announces Retirement

For more than 30 years, Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) from the Bronx has held her own in Congress and been a champion for many marginalized voices. She announced her retirement and set off what will likely be an incredibly progressive field of candidates to fill her seat. Lowey's time in Congress was marked by many firsts, particularly for women. She's currently the House Appropriations Committee chair, which makes her a cardinal in the House and very influential in federal funding for health and research agendas.

Her absence will be noted in the coming years. She was a fierce champion of affordable and accessible health care for all Americans, and she led efforts to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, for nursing research and education, and for workforce safety measures for healthcare professionals. Her leadership, vision, and guidance will be missed after her time as a public servant comes to an end.