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

Nurses Seek Action for Workplace Violence

Although nurses are the number one trusted profession in the United States for the past 18 years in a row, they’re not necessarily the most protected sector. Hostile workforce environments and exposure to hazardous chemicals are still a part of too many nurses’ daily lives. Recently, the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee held hearings on workforce safety to better understand the what nurses and other healthcare workers endure.

The hearings were enlightening for lawmakers, but few concrete resolutions came from the sessions. Change will require more evidence—which shouldn’t be difficult to find—and shared stories from nurses about the dangers they encounter in practice. ONS is involved in the workforce conversation for its nurse members, but becoming an advocate and sharing your story can effect change throughout the profession.

Progressives Encourage Aggressive Drug Price Legislation

Recognizing the huge push against prescription drug costs, a coalition of progressive unions, health, welfare, and patient advocacy groups pushed House Democratic leadership to be more aggressive with potential legislation designed to lower medication pricing for consumers. After last week’s Senate Finance Committee hearing—where seven executives from leading pharmaceutical companies testified before Congress—Americans got a front-row seat to the complicated system and what reform would entail.

The progressive coalition constitutes much of the base that helped win Democratic seats in the House, and health care is their priority agenda for the Democratic party. It’s a bind for some Dem leaders, because more progressive legislation might alienate centrist Democrats, making it difficult to pass a reform bill. Moving in the opposite direction could mean losing the support of the progressive base in the 2020 primary election cycle. Drug pricing is a popular—albeit complex—bipartisan topic; learn more about it on the Oncology Nursing Podcast.

FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Steps Down

In a complete surprise, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced he will be stepping down in June 2019. He ruffled some feathers with his strong stance on youth smoking and vaping programs, but the commissioner had the full support of the Trump administration and many Democrats in his public health efforts.

His departure after two years leaves a hole in many important areas of interest to groups like ONS, including drug labeling and the rising popularity of e-cigarettes. It will be challenging to find someone with Gottlieb’s public health, private sector, and advocacy experience to head the agency. The announcement is a blow to the policy community because he championed for faster and better quality improvements to public health.