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

Drug Importation Plan Encounters Resistance

Addressing the rising costs of prescription medications is a key priority for the Trump administration. As patients struggle with the financial burden of high drug prices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing options to import medications from Canada at a lower cost to consumers. However, the plan has major hurdles that FDA must address before it can become a reality.

The Canadian government has already objected, concerned that its supply is not large enough to handle importation to the United States. Safety measures are also being reviewed, because countries have different levels of rigor for development, storage, shipment, and distribution of medications. And finally, the plan relies on international cooperation, which introduces new personalities to the process. The administration plans on reviewing comments and releasing instructions in early 2020. Congressional approval will be necessary as well. A final decision is still months away, but it may offer hope for patients facing high medication costs.

Trump, GOP Step Back From Flavored Vaping Ban

President Trump had previously supported restrictions on flavored vaping products directly marketed to minors. And in a rare display of bipartisan work, Congress had largely supported the idea. However, in a White House meeting on vaping, Trump took a step back from committing to restrictions on flavored e-cigarettes. The advocacy community implored the White House to maintain a strong stance against the products, but others in the administration said that banning flavors would only create a black market demand.

The turnaround is remarkable and has left the advocacy community stunned. More formal exchanges were sent and are being prepared on the issue. ONS is working with coalition partners, like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, to take a firm stance for public health on smoking cessation.

Do Voters Want 2020 Candidates to Focus on Health?

Health care continues to top the list of important issues to voters in most national surveys. The emotional and personal aspects of health, rising cost of care, and difficulty of navigating a complex system have many patients and their family members looking for more. Americans are at a breaking point, seeking strategies from their elected leadership to help redesign a system to put patients first.

Although health care isn’t a partisan issue, each party has its own approach. Regardless of affiliation, nurses have a strong voice in educating decision makers about the impact of health policy on patients and providers alike. ONS is a respected voice in advocacy, helping the presidential administration and legislative bodies understand key points in health policy. 2020 will be a big year for health care, and ONS and its advocates are championing the oncology nurse every step of the way.