Bipartisan Drug Pricing Bill; Freshman Democrats; Medical Cannabis Concerns

December 10, 2018 by Chris Pirschel ONS Staff Writer/Producer, and Alec Stone MA, MPA, Former ONS Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy

Bipartisan Senators Introduce New Drug Pricing Bill

As efforts continue to drive down the soaring costs of prescription medications, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) proposed a bipartisan bill looking to close loopholes used by pharmaceutical companies ( to drive up profits. The bill would give the Department of Health and Human Services the ability to address companies that misclassify products to pay lower rebates.

High drug prices are just one component of the financial toxicity burden facing patients with cancer ( As the frontline of care, nurses are in a key position to help their patients address financial toxicity and connect them with needed resources throughout their cancer journey. Oncology nurses can also advocate for their patients by educating lawmakers and elected officials ( about the issues facing their patients with cancer.  

Freshman Democrats in Congress Ready to Use New-Won Power

Most elections—midterm and presidential—shift the paradigm of politics, and November’s election was no different. In 2019, the incoming class will be the largest entering Congress in more than 25 years, and it’s far younger, more progressive, and diverse than any other in history ( A record-breaking 100 new members of Congress are women (—not to mention the next Speaker of the House will likely be Nancy Pelosi—and they’re not waiting for an invitation to act on their campaign promises. With firm commitments to policy agendas and a cohesive voice to enact real change, these incoming representatives are eschewing the traditional “go along to get along” standards of Congress.

Many have made public statements and staked out policy positions that are at odds with Democratic leadership before they’ve even been sworn in. As with all policy work, compromise is important—as is passion and commitment. ONS will work with incoming congressional freshmen on policy priorities ( like access to care, affordability, and issues important to the nursing workforce. Lend your voice to the cause and become an advocate for your patients and profession today (

Utah Patients Can Use Medical Cannabis, but Concerns Still Loom

Medical cannabis’s implementation in many states has faced obstacles, especially in places with conservative legislatures. Utah recently passed a bill allowing the sale of medical cannabis (—despite staunch protests from advocates claiming the legislation is too restrictive to patients—but citizens likely won’t be able to access the drug until 2020.  

More and more Americans are voting to legalize medical and recreational cannabis use. Yet, each state determines its own process for disseminating, selling, and prescribing the drug. A great deal of money will be made, so it’s important to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. The public’s opinion about cannabis has changed dramatically over the past decade, and states have the jurisdiction to govern how it can be used. Learn more about the use of medical cannabis in cancer care and what you need to know when talking to your patients (

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