CMM Contributor

Amy

Amy

Hi, I'm Amy, CMM's Campaign Manager. In my 8 years living in Washington, D.C., I've seen first-hand the impact that individuals can have on the public policy process. That's why I'm passionate about empowering people across the country to engage with lawmakers in a real, bipartisan dialogue. By working together, we can promote policies that will improve our health and access to safe and effective medicines.

I also lead the Digital & Social Media Communications team at Eli Lilly and Company, where my goal is to develop Lilly's digital engagement efforts to promote innovative public policy solutions. I'm a graduate of the University of Notre Dame - Go Irish! - and earned a master's degree in public policy at Georgetown University - Hoya Saxa! I split my time between Indianapolis, IN, and Washington, D.C. and can often be found exploring with my dog, playing sports, and cheering on my favorite teams.

2017 brings with it a lot of "new" things, from calendars and planners to resolutions, we all have our hands full. But, as advocacy professionals, we also need to set a new agenda for our organizations. The 115th Congress convenes this month and so begins a new year!

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Each year, it gets harder to look back on the past 12 months and identify just a handful of digital campaigns that I thought were "the best." As time passes, the creativity and reach we see on social media increases tremendously. Folks, we work in a very exciting industry! Here are some of my favorites from 2016...

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Tis the season to travel and read! Whether you're going by plane or train, the holiday season means we spend a lot of time in transit. I find this time of year gives me a unique space to catch up on reading!

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I'm thankful for a lot, including my family, my dogs, and my fantasy football team. And, of course, I'm thankful for the developments that make our jobs easier. Here are just a few of my favorite digital updates from the past year.

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Congrats - you won the digital advocacy lottery. You have $10,000 to spend on Google AdWords that's burning a hole in your digital pocket! Now comes the bigger question: How do you spend all that money?

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What if you won $10,000 a month for life? Sadly, I can't give you that prize. But there is a way for your organization to get that funding - from Google!

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Everyone wants to succeed - in life, at work, at Tuesday Trivia.... But sometimes on social media, it's difficult to tell if you are winning. You post. You like. You retweet. You share. You send. But does it work? How do you know if all that effort you put into your digital advocacy has an impact? How do you know if you get a win?

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Fall is my favorite time of year. I love eating pumpkin-spiced treats, picking apples, and making 2017 predictions! I know it seems early, but success in digital advocacy means staying ahead of the curve. So, what does next year have in store for us?

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Can you believe Giving Tuesday is less than a month away? Over the past four years, this national day of giving has seen exponential growth. Last year alone, nonprofits raised more than $116,000,000! So, how can you tap into the #GivingTuesday buzz? How can you make this Giving Tuesday a fundraising success for your advocacy organization?

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We thought it was time for a refresh on the alphabet of government agencies designed to keep us healthy. The government body charged with overseeing and providing essential public health services in the U.S. is the Department of Health and Human Services, also known as HHS. HHS oversees 11 unique divisions, each of which leads a particular aspect of public health in our country.

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Everyone wants their campaign to "go viral." After the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, it's hardly surprising! The ALS Association raised $220 million from the campaign, not to mention the enormous amount of awareness and engagement. Of course, creating a "viral" campaign is easier said than done. But, you can set up your campaign for success with these elements.

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"There's an app for that!" I remember saying that as a joke when apps first started appearing, but now I use dozens of apps every day. In fact, I do practically everything on my phone. Whether it's an app or in a browser, most of my online interactions happen on my tablet or smartphone. The same probably holds true for your advocates. People spend more and more time on mobile devices - more than 50 percent of their time on average!

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Have you ever felt like no one notices your organization? You jump up and down on a virtual table, wave your arms and no one looks your way. For some advocacy organizations, it may seem like your potential advocates overlook you. With the election and a month full of awareness days on the horizon, many organizations struggle to break through the noise.

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Social media is a powerful tool that allows us to connect and engage with others in new and exciting ways. While the shifting of platform offerings are ever-evolving, they all have one common theme: with (most) every update or addition comes advancement in connection with targeted audiences.

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I consider myself a political junkie, but even I can get sick of the nonstop coverage during election season. And, as we get closer to election day, it will only increase. No matter what side of the aisle you sit, everyone can agree that exercising your right to vote is critical.

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With so many digital developments, social media managers, beginners and veterans alike can feel overwhelmed. What works best for each platform now? Do you really need to use Snapchat after all? And remind me what Facebook's new reactions look like?

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Many organizations don't utilize their biggest advocacy asset: their employees. With our lives being so intertwined with digital media, it's imperative to see employees as people who can help maintain and nurture our advocacy campaigns.

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Have you ever felt like you just got the hang of something and then the rules changed? As an Instagram lover, the last few months have been a digital rollercoaster. With changes come improvements, and the latest updates have advocacy folks wondering how to best use this platform for upcoming campaigns.

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When's the last time you brushed up on your health care policy facts? If you're like most Americans, a periodic refresher is in order.

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Everyone needs to step away from the hustle and bustle of the office, but that doesn't mean your organizations' social channels should go silent. With careful planning, you can take a vacation without checking your work email or sending a tweet, all while avoiding a social summertime slump.

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Who is everyone's favorite ghost? If you're my age, you'll probably say Casper. But, if you're one of the younger generation, you may think of Ghostface Chillah, the smiling Snapchat mascot. And, unlike Casper, Ghostface Chillah can be a tremendous asset to your advocacy efforts.

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The upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions mean a lot of things to advocacy professionals. Election years never fail to excite us, while still managing to bring about a bit of stress - especially when we're making communications plans.

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Petition Power

Petitions can be a powerful force for change. Advocacy organizations have used petitions for decades. And, to no ones' surprise, the advent of digital advocacy spurred the creation of many online petition platforms.

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In December 2013, Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer took over Twitter and #TheSoundOfMusicLive became the most interesting thing online since "Charlie bit my finger!". Everyone from brands and celebrities to everyday people were live-tweeting each scene in such detail that you didn't even need to watch to know everything that happened.

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Today is summer solstice, and we're joining the Alzheimer's Association in recognizing the Longest Day. It's a day to raise awareness that people living with Alzheimer's, along with their caregivers, are still looking for answers. So are we.

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Father's Day gives us a chance to spend time with the men closest to us; sons, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles and friends. They've given us a lot, and today we get to give back to them. Haven't thought of the perfect gift yet? Instead of scouring the card aisle, perhaps a simple reminder on how to stay healthy will do.

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More than ever, patients have the opportunity to become a part of the puzzle to discovering and bringing new medicines to market; for example, by being encouraged to meet with the Food and Drug Administration to share their personal perspective on how they live with their diagnoses.

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Treating illness and disease is no easy task. It takes a combination of dedicated medical and healthcare professionals, hardworking scientists and researchers and a strong support system of family and friends to make a patient's course of treatment as effective and comfortable as it can be. The best way to make that happen? Involving patients in the process.

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Here at the BIO International Convention, we've heard calls from advocates, industry, and the government to further incorporate patient feedback and perspectives into both the regulatory process, in which medicines are reviewed, and the medicine development process. An integrated approach has the potential to benefit everyone. For scientists and developers, further insight into the lives of patients can guide research and help finetune new treatments. For regulators, hearing firsthand patient experiences helps them assess whether the benefits of a potential medicine outweigh the risks for those suffering from disease. Most importantly, for patients, sharing their stories and perspectives can lead to more effective treatments.

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It's that time of year! The Campaign for Modern Medicines has arrived in San Francisco for the 2016 BIO International Convention. There's a lot happening this week, so here's a quick look at some of the events and forums we're focusing on during the convention:

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While Alzheimer's doesn't discriminate between old and young, black and white, or rich and poor, we now know that women bear the burden of the disease at rates far higher than men - and in more ways than you might realize.

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When you tweet the wrong link for your organization, it can feel like the end of the world. Breathe - everybody makes misteaks.

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Here at Digital Advocacy Institute, we often talk about the rapid-fire nature of social media. From new platforms to new advertising options, the landscape never stops changing. This past week was no different.

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Do you consider yourself a podcast aficionado? From Serial with my morning cereal to Startup on my drive home, I love podcasts and listen to them frequently. It turns out, so do millions of other Americans.

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Whether it's providing health insurance, access to key medicines or fostering groundbreaking research, there are several pieces to the public health puzzle and it takes many agencies and partner groups to put them together. This time around, I've chosen to explore America's largest and most influential public health office - and the one that sets the pace toward becoming a healthier society.

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If you've read the news lately, you may have noticed talk of changes to some of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) programs. CMS, the federal office that oversees the administration of key public health care services, recently proposed changes to the way it values and compensates physicians that will have a serious impact on patients access to particular medicines.

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Have you ever come across a comment on your Facebook Page or a Twitter mention that made you gasp? Has an argumentative user tried to poke holes in your content? No matter your mission, it feels like someone always has something negative to say.

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April was a big month for one-to-one communication. Between Facebook's bot store for Messenger and Kik's messaging app, developments in the social sphere point to online activity happening less in public and more in private groups and messaging apps.

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The digital world is buzzing in excitement about the latest live streaming apps hitting the marketplace. A space that was just last year occupied predominately by Meerkat and Periscope now includes social heavy-hitters like Facebook Live and YouTube Connect. As the space continues to grow and platforms are rapidly developed, it is clear that live streaming is here to stay.

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"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players...." While he may have left this world 400 years ago, Shakespeare's words still ring true. We all live our lives on the world's stage, acting out our own play. This applies to your organization's presence online, as well.

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If you want to learn more about progress and problems surrounding health equity, you've come to the right place. Here are just a few of our recent discussions on the state of minority health in our country, how we can create change through effective policy and what some of our partners are doing to help.

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The stage is set. The lights are dim. The audience members hush. And then it begins! I don't mean the latest Broadway play. (Although, of course, I do love Hamilton.) Instead, I'm talking about the excitement that comes with webinars!

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The first week in April marks National Public Health Week (NPHW), a time for Americans to celebrate our health as a nation and discuss the challenges we face in improving public health care for all citizens. National Public Health Week is also an opportunity to take a look at Medicare Part D, a policy that's improved the health and wellbeing of one of the largest and growing populations for more than a decade.

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It's fly-in day and you have a motivated group of advocates from all over the country and meetings scheduled with multiple Members of Congress. But have you checked every item off the pre fly-in checklist? Have you set your organization up for success? 97% of staffers say in-person visits from constituents influence their boss. With that percentage, it's clear that an advocacy fly-in could be vital to your organization or campaign.

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In Washington, D.C., one of the first questions people ask at a happy hour or social gathering isn't "how are you?" It's "what do you do?" I struggle to answer this question, because my professional title doesn't come close to explaining the work I actually do on a daily basis. As communicators, we often wear multiple hats. From project management to media monitoring to social content drafting, no day is the same. There are ways to manage the mayhem, though - and planning ahead remains one of the best!

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Not many things last 6,000 years. Not even the pyramids, the Great Wall, nor Stonehenge are that old. Unfortunately, tuberculosis, a disease that affects the lungs and other organs, has plagued mankind for six millennia and still presents serious risks to thousands of communities and millions of people around the world.

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Did you know that more than 300 million people live in the United States today? With such a large and constantly growing population, it naturally takes many health care professionals and organizations to keep us all in good health. With so many partners working together, it's important to not only keep track of each health agency's role, but also understand why they matter to your wellbeing, and the wellbeing of your family and your friends.

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Comfy sneakers? Check. Computer charger? Check. Water bottle? Check. I'm nearly ready to hit the road and head to Austin! The only thing missing from my packing list for SXSW Interactive? The list of sessions I want to attend!

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Did you know than 10% of all photos ever taken by humankind happened in the last 12 months? Jaw dropping, isn't it? Photos and videos have truly become the universal language online. Facebook and Google+ both have moved to image-centric layouts. Twitter's images and videos are much more front and center. And Pinterest - a platform that relies on photos - is the second highest traffic driver worldwide. I think we're all on the image bandwagon, but the question becomes: How do we pull off an interesting advocacy campaign when we don't have the creative team to back us up?

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Angelman Syndrome. Balo Disease. Carnosinemia. You've likely never heard of these conditions before, and for good reason. As rare diseases, each of these illnesses affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. But "rare" does not mean their impacts are less severe, or that their treatments are any less important.

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A few months ago, we speculated about Mark Zuckerberg's announcement that Facebook would soon have another option, instead of just a "like." Many wondered if it would be a "dislike" button. The results are finally in: Facebook recently debuted a new feature - reactions. These new buttons include Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Will these reactions do great things for your digital advocacy campaign? Or will they just give you another headache?

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In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially designated February as African American History Month. In the 40 years since then, we've taken this month to recognize how far we've come as a multicultural society and celebrate the great strides we've made. But we should also focus on the remaining obstacles we face and must solve together, including challenges in public health.

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It's the week you've all been waiting for--Social Media Week February 2016! Now I realize not everyone looks forward to this week as much as me, but it is a truly great opportunity for learning and collaboration. Taking place in four cities across the globe, this is the first in a series of year-long conferences focused on the power of social media. While there are hundreds of amazing sessions to attend, check out these can't-miss ones for digital advocacy leaders:

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A lot can change in 50 years. From landing a man on the moon, to inventing computer systems that can analyze billions of data per second, to the creation of social networks that put friends just a click away, our world is a very different place today than it was five decades ago.

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Do you participate in advocacy? It's defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. As you can see, it's a sweeping definition - and I bet you advocate for something, whether it's personally or professionally. When you think about your advocacy efforts - do you consider how an online presence fits in? If you do, you're not alone.

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Too many things to do, not enough hands to get them done. Most, if not all, of us have been faced with this situation in our work and personal lives. I know I get frustrated when I have all of these great ideas, but not enough resources to follow through. If you are part of a non-profit or smaller organization, this probably resonates. Luckily, there's a lot you can do in digital advocacy - even without a dedicated team.

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FDA. HHS. CMS. CDER. With so many acronyms abounding in the health care world, talking about public health can sometimes feel like wading through alphabet soup! Today, I'll continue to explain the meaning--and the action--behind the acronyms you may hear when it comes to health care.

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If you spent any time on social media this week, you may have noticed trending hashtags like #WeCanICan and #WorldCancerDay on your Twitter sidebar. This year, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) used the World Cancer Day initiative to kickstart a three-year campaign for reach and impact - largely built online. People around the world use the identified hashtags to explain how they can do their part to reduce the global burden on cancer. Something that once seemed so huge and daunting now has a tight-knit community online - all through the use of a simple awareness day.

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When's your next big gathering? A winter wedding? Your Super Bowl party? Maybe you're a leap year baby and your big, once-in-a-blue moon birthday bash is coming up? All of these events present great opportunities to share your advocacy message. We've mastered digital messaging and techniques, but do we know how to support our cause in-person?

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Like many of you, I tuned in last month to watch President Barack Obama deliver his final State of the Union address. Over the course of 6,044 words, he discussed issues ranging from the economy to foreign policy. Among the top priorities for this administration, both today and moving forward, is public health and health care. The president made several references to improving public health throughout his speech, but how do these statements translate into the real world?

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Do you have a friend who insists on @ mentioning you on Twitter, posting on your Facebook wall, texting you or sending you a LinkedIn message when an email would suffice? Some of mine may avoid phone calls by using one of those platforms, but I can't say my inbox looks any less flooded. Email remains as popular as ever, which is precisely why every advocacy organization sends thousands of them every week to members of Congress. So, how can you use this tool more effectively? By getting back to basics!

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While waiting for a recent flight at Indianapolis International Airport, I indulged in a little people watching and was reminded of the many characters that struggle through departure gates daily. As I sat, I zoned in on one major detail - what everyone was doing on their phones. I saw a teenager sending a Snapchat, a man in his 20s scrolling through live Twitter feeds and an older couple viewing a new Facebook album of what I can only assume was photos of their granddaughter. All the while, I was searching sleek living room designs for my new Pinterest board. One airport gate captured the segmentation of audiences we see on social media today.

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IRL, TBT, SMH...the endless abbreviations on social media today make my head spin! These are just a few examples from the rapidly growing body of new words and phrases used online. Thankfully, knowing the meaning behind all of the ridiculous (and lazy) acronyms may not prove important - at least in your digital advocacy work. Now, I wouldn't recommend you memorize a list of 117 glossary terms, but you do need to keep up to speed with at least some of the new terminology.

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American seniors overwhelmingly agree: Part D works. If you or a loved one signed up for Part D during the most recent open enrollment period, you may want to review a few of the many benefits you can expect:

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On New Year's Eve, like many of you, I toasted to good health in 2016. A new year offers the opportunity to reflect on the strides made toward improving our lives and the lives of those around us. And, we can use this time to think about ways to continue this momentum in the year ahead. As I look forward to a year brimming with opportunity and hope, here are some of my top health care aspirations:

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Right now, more than 2 billion people use social media worldwide. That's certainly an impressive number already, but it will only continue to grow with time. No one can ignore the expanding digital universe. In fact, 97% of U.S. companies have a presence on a social network. So what's in store for 2016? These trends may change how organizations use social media in the year ahead:

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I am an awards season junkie. The Golden Globes, Oscars, SAG Awards, Emmys...the list goes on and on. I swoon over elegant gowns, question whether I could pull off a red lip and cry over the scene in that one movie everyone has seen. It's also the time of year when brands show their stuff on Twitter by creating real-time quips that add to the social conversation. From Charmin to Oreo, I'm always in awe of their digital prowess.

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Millennials are often stereotyped as entitled, self-involved and opportunistic. However, a new trend is quickly changing expectations of my generation.

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Life science is a field with many twists and turns, but one fact always rings true: medicine only works when it can reach those who need it. This is especially important now, after recently observing World AIDS Day and throughout December, often recognized as AIDS Awareness Month.

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Have you been inundated with a plethora of video updates from celebrities like Seth Meyers and Ellen DeGeneres, presidential candidates, journalists, or your friends this year? Well, you must not be alone. The live video streaming app Periscope took off big-time in 2015 - and now it's been named the iPhone App of the Year by Apple.

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The holiday season is in full swing! Americans will spend the next few weeks traveling, visiting family and buying gifts. Many of us kicked off the holiday shopping spree on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but there's another sale I think you should know about: Medicare's Open Enrollment Period.

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"You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak."

Now, if that's not the epitome of parental advice, I don't know what is. These one and two-liners may have seemed annoying or flippant when we were younger, but this saying (as well as countless others) certainly begin to take shape as you age. I have other favorites, such as "if it was easy, everyone would do it" and "don't quit until tomorrow", but there's something about knowing how to listen that's really helped me, in both my personal and professional lives.

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As we approach the close of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, I've discussed the history of the disease and its impact on a patient's loved ones, but I haven't talked about the extensive, and often silent, effects of Alzheimer's. The burden to people with this chronic illness, to caregivers and to our society rises each year. For these reasons, I'd like to explore the true costs of Alzheimer's disease.

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When it comes to new digital trends, you'll rarely hear Congress called an "early adopter." Despite their sluggish reputation, they've grown a lot when it comes to social media usage. Just ask the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF). Last week, CMF's CEO Brad Fitch joined us for a discussion of their #SocialCongress survey. The report explores the ways members of Congress, and their staff, use these tools to communicate and listen to their constituents. What could these findings mean for the future of digital advocacy?

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Every five years, Congress revises the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) to modernize the development, review and delivery of new medicines in the United States. PDUFA provides the FDA with the financial and human resources it needs to more efficiently assess applications for new medicines. Each version of the law builds upon an already-solid foundation, continuing a trend of constant improvement to an essential facet of public policy. As we approach the sixth reauthorization of PDUFA, I think it's a good time to examine the numbers behind this law.

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Have you ever wished you had more than 140 characters for a tweet? Lucky for us, Twitter may develop a new product that lets users share longer updates. While it wouldn't replace the traditional tweet, it could give users another option for long-form narratives. This update joins a larger trend across digital platforms.

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"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." These words from President John F. Kennedy demonstrate the true spirit of Veterans Day. Every year on November 11, our country honors the millions of Americans who have served in our armed forces. A big part of caring for our service men and women means doing our part to ease their transition back into civilian life.

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Launched three years ago as a charitable answer to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping days, #GivingTuesday has grown into a global movement to encourage engagement. The goal remains simple: to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in giving all year round. If your advocacy organization relies at all on donations, circle this day on your calendar.

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The cancer community is one of the largest and most engaged patient groups offline and online. Every day, millions of patients, doctors, family members, caregivers and others congregate online to educate and support one another via Twitter chats. If you'd like to get involved, now is the perfect time: November plays host to Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Interested in getting involved? Here are a few chats to get you started:

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Halloween has its fair share of tricks and treats, but not all tricks are fun and games. Have you fallen for one of those Facebook hoaxes? How about retweeting a headline that later proved false? Misinformation on social media can be just as scary as your next door neighbor dressed up as Freddy Krueger! So beware...

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Did you know Medicare Part D is so popular, 3 in 4 Medicare participants opt for its coverage? In fact, Part D subscribers give the program a 90% satisfaction rate. Medicare Part Dconsistently improves our public health system and makes high-quality care and easy access to prescription medicines a realistic option for those over 65. Here's why they're fans of Medicare Part D, and why I am, too:

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At the end of every Netflix binge, I'm flabbergasted by how spot-on the recommendations are for my next sitcom addiction. To this day, whatever drives these has never steered me wrong. How does Netflix know me so well? Seemingly, they have the same insights as Google does when reaching out to users with advertisements.

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I talk a lot about the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) and how it improves and impacts patients' lives. As we head toward the sixth authorization of PDUFA, I'd like to look at how we've come this far and where it all started. I've discussed the history of the bill before, but since October is Health Literacy Month, it's the perfect time to take a deeper dive and learn even more about a law that has left a lasting impression on public health.

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Sometimes you have to think "big picture" in order to get your message across to your target audience. That's why attention-grabbing infographics play such an important role in a successful advocacy campaign -- they cut through the noise and help you engage with your supporters. Think of them as the best of both worlds: you can display complex information, but in a straightforward and memorable way.

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It's no secret that Medicare provides senior and disabled Americans with affordable health care. Every year, millions of people across the United States sign up for Medicare during the Open Enrollment Period. Open Enrollment for Medicare plans for 2016 starts tomorrow.

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Admittedly, I was skeptical that a social media platform seemingly made for the everyday consumer would evolve into a tool worth consideration in advocacy campaigns. But, communicators can't ignore the trend of using visual imagery to convey an idea. With 400 million monthly active users, Instagram has turned into a powerful tool - if you know how to use it.

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg caused quite a stir when he announced plans to release a new, so-called "dislike" button on the popular social network. Our lives revolve around social media so much that the mere mention of a new feature sets the digital world a-buzz. What will the button look like and what will they name it? Will they roll it out incrementally or all at once? Will users actually use it? And most importantly for us - how could this "dislike" button affect online communities and our interactions with them? While we don't have all of the details about this new feature, here are some early pros and cons we spotted.

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What is an emoji? The Pope has his own and so does Hillary Clinton. But many of us, especially those of us over the age of 30, can get flummoxed by these little cartoons.

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If you've walked the streets of any major U.S. city, an eager 20-something has probably come up to you with a clipboard and asked, "Do you have a minute to help save the world?" This tried and true strategy remains a standard in any grassroots toolbox. And while this old-school method might seem out of place in our digital world, it clearly works.

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Throughout September patients, advocates and organizations across the globe tirelessly raised awareness about Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Today, I share with you some notable facts about Alzheimer's disease and its national, global and generational toll.

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With the second GOP debate behind us, it's safe to say campaign season has arrived! Town Hall events in keys states, such as New Hampshire and South Carolina, clog journalists' travel calendars and provide excitement for voters. As the candidates lay out a vision for their presidency, I'm reminded of the power of community and open communication - both factors in these highly publicized events.

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Technology brings people together and revolutionizes the way we communicate, whether it's via email, Snapchat, or a 140-character tweet.

Today, it's practically second nature to look online for answers, support for problems, or just to interact with peers. Digital tools advance the public health discussion and create a voice for advocacy organizations, patients, caregivers and other communities.

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If you know someone with cancer, this blog is for you.

Studies show that people with cancer need support from friends. Support gives cancer patients a more positive outlook and a better quality of life. While every person experiences different emotions and needs, here are six suggestions from experts, survivors and counselors to help a friend battling cancer:

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Have you ever wondered what happens to your letters to Congress once they've been sent? Who reads them? When should you expect a response? You aren't the only one. In an effort to shed light on the path of your advocacy materials, we invited the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) and two Legislative Correspondents (LCs) to share their insights during our September 3 webinar.

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Since 2006, seniors and disabled Americans have been able to easily and cost-effectively get the prescriptions they need, thanks to Medicare Part D. Next year will be no different. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced that Part D prices will remain at a constant, affordable level - for the sixth year in a row.

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The average American sends about 41.5 text messages daily. Thank goodness for unlimited texting plans! Even with the rise of new messaging apps, good old-fashioned texting remains just as popular as when it first came on the scene.

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Are you reading this blog on your phone?

Last summer, Americans spent 60% of their Internet browsing time on smartphones or tablets. In April, Google began ranking sites on their mobile-readiness. Although the impact has been minimal so far, many believe this is just the beginning. Bottom line: If you want your organization to show up in a Google search, you can't ignore the "Mobilegeddon."

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It's back-to-school season. As families stock up on school supplies and dust off the lunch boxes, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for a lesson on the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA).

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Once upon a time in a land called The Hill, knights in shining armor roamed free - defending all manner of causes. Each knight carried the coat of arms of a different house, and patrolled the halls of Russell and Hart. Juggling binders filled with handouts, talking points and maps, they wended the halls of a domed castle, seeking the ear of court officials. These are the Lobby Days of yore.

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When you've got a cause to fight for, you want to devote every waking hour to it. However, no matter how passionately you advocate for an issue, everyone deserves a break. From a road trip to a cruise, some time away from your screens and your Twitter streams, can do you some good.

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When people have trouble caring for themselves, they often turn to family members for help. According to recent studies, as many as 43 million Americans act as caregivers for a close relative. Of those, 19% are older than 65 themselves. More than half cite Alzheimer's disease as the need for constant care.

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Imagine this situation: you've connected with your favorite brand online, you like their Facebook posts and favorite their tweets, and then something goes wrong. You have a bad experience, and you want them to acknowledge it. Sound familiar? Each day, thousands of U.S. consumers take to the internet to air their grievances. Although most brands have a customer service mindset built in, in this era of interconnection, it behooves advocacy organizations to do the same.

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Today's older Americans still grapple with challenges that senior citizens have faced for years, like access to quality health coverage. As recently as the 1960s, older adults had to pay more for insurance than young people, rendering health care unaffordable and unavailable.

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If you Google search "Best Blogging Tips," you'll find millions of top recommendations, best practices and pro-tips. The volume of content on this topic should tell you one thing: Blogs are a power player of the digital age.

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Would your advocacy campaign benefit from a tool with an audience of 1.44 billion people and a platform for highly targeted messages? Not many would say "no" - and I'm here to tell you to look no further. Facebook ads have become an essential component of any digital strategy. With them, you have can capture the attention of a huge number of users with a particular message and turn them into highly-coveted conversions.

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This week kicks off the first of a series of public forums on the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), the legislation that provides the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with funding and resources. By design, Congress must review and approve PDUFA every five years--and since PDUFA will be up for renewal in 2017, it's time to start discussing what the next version will include.

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What's the best way to communicate and advocate online? While we can list tools and tricks until the cows come home, when you get down to it, it's all about the writing.

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From Wimbledon to the Women's World Cup, summer is full of contests at the highest levels--and the arena of health insurance is no exception. Medicare Part D - the Medicare prescription drug benefit - fosters competition among health insurance providers, which keeps the cost of medicines low for millions of older Americans. And when plan sponsors compete, everybody wins!

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The Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan agency that provides Congress with economic information, recently issued new data on Medicare budget estimates. The report shows Medicare spending projections have plummeted, which has been the trend. This an important development because health care makes up a large portion of the annual federal budget.

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Since its initial passing in 1992, the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) has done wonders to improve the Federal Drug Administration's (FDA) process for analyzing and reviewing new medicines. Every renewal of PDUFA - which happens every five years - has pinpointed areas of federal policy in need of change and provided the solutions. Increased resources and staff, shortened review periods, and earlier launch dates--all PDUFA byproducts--have made it easier for the right medicines to get into the hands of the people who need them most.

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Whether it's the vivid details of a breakup, a star-spangled rodeo, or a dog running away from home, country singers have a special way of telling stories. The country fans out there will recognize the rodeo reference I just made as a line from the Rhinestone Cowboy himself, Glen Campbell. Old-school fans of twang and the country-curious will all have the opportunity to hear the special story of Glen Campbell's life this weekend when CNN airs the documentary film "Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me."

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Do you remember a quote from the last article you read online? How about the last funny GIF you saw? Most likely, one comes to mind before the other. Images have a strong emotional factor and those emotions have a powerful pull on us. It comes as no surprise that messages with imagery perform exponentially better that those with plain text. In fact, 40% of people will respond better to visual information.

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Struggling to find a Father's Day present? We have an idea for you: The gift of health. June represents National Men's Health Month, a time to focus on improving the health of the men in our lives. Men's Health Month has been going on for more than 30 years, and while some of the statistics have changed, several themes are still the same.

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The BIO Convention is officially over, but I can't stop thinking about some of the insightful conversations that occurred over the course of the week in Philadelphia. As you might have noticed by my Tuesday recap post, I found myself particularly inspired by the focus on integrating the patient voice into the development, regulation, and policy of new medicines. At a panel titled Speak Up: The Role of Patient Advocates in Shaping Regulatory and Science Policy, Lilly USA President, Alex Azar noted, "The voice of the advocate is heard whenever they choose to use them." This statement got me thinking about the role social media and digital technology play in elevating and amplifying the patient voice for health care decision making.

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It's been a great (and humid) first few days at this year's BIO International Convention in Philadelphia. Every year, the BIO International Convention brings together stakeholders from throughout health care and biotechnology fields to discuss the best ways to accelerate innovation around the world. Over the last couple years, the role of the patient voice in drug development has continued to become an increasingly important topic. But this year, the discussion seems to have hit an all-time high! With ongoing conversations about the 21st Century Cures Act and upcoming discussions on PDUFA VI, it's clear that "patient focused" drug development is more than just another buzz word.

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For the past few weeks, John Lennon's Imagine has been playing on continuous loop in my head, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. Then it dawned on me. Last week's Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) held in New York City on June 4-5, rallied around the theme, "Imagine All The People: The Future of Civic Tech."

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You don't have to go to D.C. to have your voice heard on the Hill. In-district meetings and virtual lobbying play an important role in a successful advocacy campaign. As digital tools become more widely available and social media savvy politicians become the norm, there's much more flexibility in advocacy. But what digital tools will boost your efforts and still keep the same sense of urgency as lobbying on The Hill?

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I woke up this morning thinking "TGIF"--but not just because I'm looking forward to the weekend. Believe it or not, today is National Donut Day, which donut shops all over the country celebrate by giving away free treats. And while this holiday gives us a great reason to treat ourselves, it also allows me to talk about another kind of donut--the Medicare "donut hole," the common name for the coverage gap experienced by many Medicare beneficiaries.

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You've probably heard people refer to the main page of a website by the term "homepage". Thinking of a website as an organization's online home makes a lot of sense. Just as an interior decorator may add accents to your brick and mortar, an exciting web design that focuses on fresh content can perk up your site. However, when it comes down to it, if your house doesn't have a driveway, an address, or any roads leading up to it, only a brave few will visit.

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What will it take to bring the next generation of treatments and cures to the people who need them? Last week, The Hill and PhRMA hosted a policy discussion to answer this exact question.

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Every once in a while, I find it both refreshing and de-stressing to clean closets and desk drawers of things long forgotten and unnecessary. Have you ever found something so comical during this process that it shocks you to think you ever used it? That's how I feel about my old rolodex, which I happened upon this year.

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The 2016 Presidential Election has heated up, with new candidates putting their names in the hat every week. Why talk about it so early? Well, being ahead of the curve when it comes to social media strategy has become even more important, especially for our grassroots advocacy folks. We're used to social media playing a big role in campaigns - but with new platforms popping up in every direction, will we call 2016 "the year of Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope"? Newer platforms may seem cool, but we think Facebook is still king.

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To blog - or not to blog? Advocacy organizations of all scopes and sizes struggle with this question. On the one hand, a blog can act as a catalyst for your advocates. On the other hand, upkeep can take a considerable amount of time and investment.

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May offers the perfect time to give seniors the spotlight as we celebrate Older Americans Month. This year's theme, "Get Into the Act," draws attention to ways seniors can take charge of their health, get involved in their communities, and make a difference to the people around them.

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Every April, we celebrate National Minority Health Month, a time to reflect on the importance of better health for all Americans. As this year's National Minority Health Month has come to a close, let's take a look at some of the inspirational work our partners have done to help achieve health equity this month:

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Last week, senior associate editor at The Atlantic, Julie Beck, published an article whose title alone asked a crucial question: "What Good Is 'Raising Awareness?'. While Beck focused on the relationship between disease awareness days and improved health outcomes, the article got me thinking about an important question for the advocacy community: how do we translate attention into action?

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Thanks to modern medical innovation, most Americans have the opportunity to lead longer, healthier lives than previously thought possible. However, minority communities continuously face barriers to basic health needs like life-saving medicines and preventive care. This National Minority Health Month, let's explore the meaning of health equity and how we can achieve better health care for all Americans.

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Do you remember the "Kony 2012" video? It got 120 million views within 5 days of going live. Invisible Children, the small non-profit that produced the video, raised $32 million in the months following its release. Suddenly, a small San Diego non-profit's mission became a global phenomenon. I'll be honest with you; it's not likely that any video you create will go quite that viral. But just because you may not get a million (or even a thousand!) views, doesn't mean videos lack value.

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How would you define the internet's role in our lives? To me, the internet works to empower human connectivity. Like a virtual town hall or an e-reunion, the internet provides a needed catalyst for social interaction. It empowers organizations by providing instant access to hundreds--if not thousands--of social channels, connecting organizations with advocates around the world. However, just because these channels exist, don't think you have to implement a meaningful strategy on each one. Instead, focus on maximizing the impact of your time and resources by choosing the right platforms for your strategy.

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We've all been there. You post a photo on Twitter only to realize the image preview is wildly different than what you wanted to see. Instead of a smiling face, you're looking at someone's forehead.

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Every April, the Office of Minority Health marks National Minority Health Month to raise awareness of health issues affecting minority communities. This year's theme, '30 Years of Advancing Health Equity,' focuses on the equalization of access to health care since the release of the Heckler Report, a landmark 1985 study that helped identify health disparities. In honor of Minority Health Month, I wanted to take a deeper look at how one policy - Medicare Part D - helps contribute to his progress by making health care more affordable.

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David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas, began by tweeting, "We get off the Number 10 bus at a pub called 'The Fox and Hounds'. 'If anyone asks,' Mum tells me, 'say we came by taxi.'" A few days later, he had shared an entire short story through Twitter, each excerpt in 140 characters or less. In fact, a simple search on Twitter of #SixWordStory results in thousands of tweets, all telling short, simple tales. There is no shortage of storytelling online.

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This month the Campaign for Modern Medicines celebrates four years of advocacy! When CMM launched in 2011, my vision was to create a platform that empowered Americans to speak out about the issues that matter to their health. Fast-forward to today, and I'm proud to say that together, we've made enormous strides toward accomplishing this mission. We couldn't have enacted change without you, the thousands of people across the country who took part in CMM campaigns, shared their personal stories, signed petitions, and talked to Congress. Thanks to you, we have been able to build a community empowering others to engage with policymakers and champion modern public health policies.

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For nine years and counting, the vast majority of Part D beneficiaries have said the program helps them stay healthy and able to enjoy life to the fullest--no matter where they are.

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Ensuring patients have access to new medicines relies on collaboration from many stakeholders, including policymakers, regulators, researchers, and patients. But, with the plethora of acronyms referring to the approval process, getting up to speed on the regulatory journey of a new medicine can feel like trying to decode a bowl of alphabet soup. Don't let the acronyms confuse you -- let's look behind the letters to learn more about how they help foster future medical innovation. Here are the five most important to patients:

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More than 11 years after Medicare Part D was signed into law, the program continues to deliver on its promise of ensuring that older Americans have access to the medicines they need at prices they can afford. And millions of beneficiaries continue to agree on one thing--Medicare Part D works.

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When it comes to social media, your channels can feel like a monster in need of constant feeding and attention. You want quality content, but when you need to move quickly, many advocates find themselves in a bind. So how does the successful digital advocate balance these two?

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Nearly 40 years ago, President Gerald Ford declared February as Black History Month, a time dedicated to honoring the achievements of African American men and women. But despite countless accomplishments throughout the decades, many African Americans, and other minority groups still face barriers when it comes to accessing everyday needs, like health care.

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This week, people in cities as far flung as Bangalore, Milan, and New York, will converge to talk about one thing: social media. This semi-annual meeting, known as Social Media Week, spans four continents and features thousands of experts talking about the power of digital engagement. The theme for this year, Reimagining Human Connectivity, got me thinking: what makes digital advocacy different from your typical social brand engagement?

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When it comes to advocacy, meaningful relationships can translate to success. But how can we build connections with new lawmakers while strengthening those that have already been formed?

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What if George Washington had Facebook? Would that change our political structure? Now that's something to think about! Even though our Founding Fathers lacked many of the tools that define our political process today, they were still able to garner political support. As advocates, we often take for granted these digital resources that leaders like George Washington did without.

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Capitol Hill looks much different than it did just a few months ago. But what does a new Congress mean for advocates? How will all of these changes on The Hill affect your outreach strategy?

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More than half a century ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared February American Heart Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of good heart health. Today, let's explore how Medicare Part D helps improve American access to the medicines they need to keep their hearts healthy this month, and every month.

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Not many policies can boast a 90% approval rating and say they save our nation billions of dollars, but Medicare Part D does just that. After more than a decade, the program continues to ensure more than 39 million seniors have reliable access to the prescription medication they need to make the most of their golden years. Along with its widespread approval and effectiveness, here are three more things you should know about Part D:

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During the last three months of 2014, seniors across the country had the opportunity to enroll in one public program that has delivered results for nearly a decade: Medicare Part D.

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The start of every year marks a new beginning, full of promise and plenty of aspirations. To kick off the first full week of 2015, I've compiled the top three health care goals I hope to see accomplished in the coming year:

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2014 has been an incredible year for us here at CMM. We reached exciting milestones, and we'll have even more to come in the year ahead. Before 2014 comes to a close, I'd like to take a look at what has made this year a success.

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Last week, the widely successful Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage program, known as Medicare Part D, celebrated its 11th anniversary! Since it was enacted in 2003, Part D has provided over 39 million seniors affordable and simple access to the medicines they need to stay healthy.

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The impact of diabetes on everyone in the United States continues to grow, but did you know that the diabetes epidemic disproportionately affects minority communities? As 2014 comes to a close, let's take a look at the public policies that have helped all Americans manage the growing of threat diabetes this year.

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The holiday season is always a hectic one! But no matter how busy you are, don't forget to keep your health and the health of your loved ones in mind. Medicare Part D open enrollment, which began six weeks ago, officially closes this Sunday, December 7. Before the marketplace closes, we're taking a look at how Part D gives back to seniors well beyond the holidays.

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People may forget the facts, but they'll always remember a good story.

For thousands of years, stories have connected us with others who've once experienced our very same challenges. By helping us look back on the past for wisdom, appreciate the present, and work to change the future, stories are the building blocks of advocacy.

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Today marks World AIDS Day, a day that we unite in the fight against HIV, support those living with it, and commemorate the lives lost. Since HIV was first identified in 1981, new medications and treatments have played a key role in improving the lives and health of those living with the disease. This year's World AIDS Day theme--Focus, Partner, Achieve--highlights the role of collaboration in transforming care for people living with AIDS. The progress we've made against HIV/AIDs in the last few decades provides an important reminder of what we can accomplish when patients, regulatory agencies, and Congress come together to pave the way for innovative medicines.

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Thanksgiving is around the corner, and it's almost the time to gather around the table with family and friends. On Capitol Hill, one bill has the House of Representatives coming together as well: the MODDERN Cures Act. Eighty members of Congress from both sides of the aisle support the bill, bringing the nation one step closer to innovative new treatments for rare and chronic diseases.

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When President Reagan declared November National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month in 1983, fewer than 2 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's. Today, over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, with the number set to rise to 7.1 million by 2025.

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Researchers have identified nearly 7,000 different rare diseases, yet 95% of them lack even a single treatment. To add to this challenging situation, many of the 30 million Americans living with a rare disease and their families sometimes wait years to receive a correct diagnosis, only to find out that they have few or no available treatment options.

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Did you know that it's National Diabetes Awareness Month? Every November, organizations and individuals join forces to increase public understanding about the growing impact of diabetes on our nation. This year, the Centers for Disease Control announced that more than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, with older Americans accounting for over one-third of this total. In the face of these rather alarming numbers, one public policy helps older Americans with diabetes access the medicines they need: Medicare Part D.

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Today's guest blog comes from George Vradenburg, co-founder of USAgainstAlzheimer's and the convener of the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer's Disease.

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Most people believe that one of the most important days in the life of a medicine is the day it receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which deems it safe and effective for use by people. In reality, FDA approval marks just one step in a journey that usually begins 10 to 15 years prior, when scientists begin to explore how a new molecule could treat a particular disease or diseases.

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With so many different advocacy tools out there, it's tough to know which one best positions your organization to get your issue front and center. This week, the Digital Advocacy Institute uncovered tactics for success in digital advocacy in the first of many upcoming webinars, The Influence Checklist: Assessing and Improving Your Advocacy Strategies.

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With Medicare Part D enrollment beginning this month, I thought we could take a look at how this prescription coverage program works every day to keep Americans healthy--physically and financially. The program, which was signed into law by President Bush as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, has since earned support from both sides of the aisle, because of its benefits to seniors and the economic health of our nation.

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If you ever doubted that an online community could make a difference, think again! This week, over 1,000 people with diabetes, their family members, and caregivers joined the #DOCasksFDA virtual town hall with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discuss how diabetes impacts their lives and what can be done to improve the management of this condition.

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Today's guest blog comes from Manny Hernandez, a passionate advocate who has lived with diabetes since 2002. In 2008, he co-founded the Diabetes Hands Foundation, home to online communities TuDiabetes.org and EsTuDiabetes.org, the Big Blue Test, and the Diabetes Advocates program. He has published books on social media and health, and has delivered inspiring keynotes around the world at numerous diabetes conferences around the globe.

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October's coming to an end, bringing with it the spookiest holiday of the year: Halloween! While eerie decorations and scary costumes abound, one thing you don't need to fear is advocating for a cause. It's easy to get spooked by all of the information and choices to make online, but effective digital advocacy can come from contributions large or small. You may fret that your tweet or post won't have an impact, but over half of Congressional staffers actually look to Facebook and Twitter to hear from their constituents.

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The Digital Advocacy Institute conference may be over, but it's still inspiring me! With panels covering everything from how to Congress uses social media to how to tell your advocacy story online, speakers offered great tips on how individuals and organizations can take advantage of digital tools when advocating on important issues.

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Henry Ford once said: "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." The importance of this kind of action-focused collaboration came up quite a bit at this week's BIO Patient and Health Advocacy Summit, where over 200 patient advocates came together in Washington, D.C.

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With Medicare Part D open for enrollment and the HealthCare.Gov insurance marketplace opening in just one month, fall is a busy season for health events! Luckily, October marks Health Literacy Month, a great opportunity to brush up on your health knowledge and make smart and informed health care decisions.

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Every fall for more than a decade, American seniors have the opportunity to enroll in a health care program that truly delivers results: Medicare Part D. During Part D open enrollment, which began last week and runs through December 7th, our nation's seniors can choose from a myriad of available prescription coverage plans, picking one that will help them stay healthy in 2015 and for years to come.

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Last week's Digital Advocacy Institute conference focused on the digital tools and tips that enable you to take your advocacy to the next level. While I left inspired by so many people and excited by the many things I'd learned, these three things really stood out.

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In 1990, Congress declared the first full week of October Mental Illness Awareness Week. In any given year, 1 in 4 American adults struggles with mental illness--that's approximately 61.5 million people annually. By gaining a better understanding of the impact that mental health issues have on both individuals and the health care system, you too can change the future of mental health care.

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The countdown has begun! In less than a week, advocates will unite in Washington, D.C to learn about how they can change the future of health care in the United States. During next Wednesday's Digital Advocacy Institute Conference, attendees will hear how digital tools have transformed the way Americans -- and advocates all around the world-- communicate about the issues that matter to them.

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The cycle of science never stops. For hundreds of years, researchers have built on the experiments of those who came before them, resulting in new discoveries that have successfully helped people and transformed our society. Every scientific lesson contributes to the medicines we use today, as well as valuable insights for treatments yet to be developed.

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It's officially autumn! While there are many things that we love about the season, this time of year gives Americans the opportunity to pick more than just apples and pumpkins. Every fall, older Americans can choose to enroll in one program that has been keeping our nation's seniors healthy for more than a decade- Medicare Part D!

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One in every 5 adults in the United States provides care to a loved one, and more than 15 million of these Americans care for a family member with Alzheimer's disease. As World Alzheimer's Awareness Month comes to close, we want to take time to recognize the selfless work of caregivers around the world. No matter the month, caregivers work tirelessly, providing billions of hours of unpaid care every year. And while many caregivers report that they are happy to support their loved ones, caring for a friend or family member with Alzheimer's can be a very difficult and stressful job.

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Every September, Alzheimer's Disease International urges people around the world to raise awareness and support the millions of people living with Alzheimer's disease in honor of World Alzheimer's Month. The theme of this year's World Alzheimer's Month is "Dementia: Can we reduce the risk?" One of the most important ways you can work to reduce the impact of dementia on all people is to educate yourself and others about the scope of the disease. By learning more about the effects of Alzheimer's, you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to advocate for smart public policies that lead to early diagnosis and expanded resources for the patients, caregivers, and families who need them.

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Since Dr. Alois Alzheimer first identified Alzheimer's disease in 1906, scientists, doctors, and researchers have been searching for ways to diagnose and treat it. Alzheimer's affects over 5 million Americans, making it the most common form of dementia. Despite enormous effort and a century of research, there remains no cure.

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More than ever, digital engagement represents an important frontier for the future of health care advocacy.

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Today's guest blog comes from Marc Wortmann, Executive Director Alzheimer's Disease International. World Alzheimer's Month is the global awareness month for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. This month is important to have as in large parts of the world dementia is still considered normal part of ageing and not a disease of the brain.

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From the moment a person learns they have Alzheimer's disease, only one thing remains certain: their life and the lives of their family members will never be the same again. Despite progress made in our understanding of the disease, this scene becomes reality for one American every 67 seconds. Every year, Alzheimer's affects an increasing amount of people around the world, with 75 million people expected to receive a diagnosis by 2030. Despite the mounting concerns that Alzheimer's poses in every corner of the globe, just nine nations have countrywide plans to help combat the rising impact of Alzheimer's in their country--and the U.S. is one of them.

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Since its inception, the Food and Drug Administration's main charge has been to review and approve safe and effective medicines for use by people across the nation. Last year, it approved 27 new medicines, just over its average of 26 per year. For people with cancer, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, and many other diseases, these medicines offer new hope for better health, easier management of their illness, or even a cure.

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More than 44 million people around the world live with Alzheimer's disease, including over 5 million people in the U.S. By 2030, an estimated 75 million people globally are expected to be diagnosed with the degenerative brain disorder. With the disease only slated to rise, families and countries must to think about all calculations associated with Alzheimer's disease- ranging from the disease's emotional and health tolls, to the economic impact Alzheimer's has on families.

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How can advocacy change the future of health care? This was the question hundreds of mental health care advocates addressed as they came to Washington, D.C. last week advocating for policy change. On September 3rd, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hosted their annual Day of Action, calling on our nation's lawmakers to encourage policies that support mental health care.

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This National Grandparents Day, we're honoring Medicare Part D, which has been making life better for our grandparents for more than a decade.

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This weekend, families all across America are celebrating Labor Day by enjoying the last three-day weekend of summer. But for the 15.5 million Americans caring for more than 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer's disease, there's no day off from ensuring that their loved ones receive the best care and treatment.

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Every day, our nation's health care laws and legislations help ensure that all Americans, regardless of age or ethnicity, have access to the care and treatments they need to stay healthy. While each law has a different intent, the most successful policies do these three things:

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Nearly 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan declared August 21st National Senior Citizens' Day in honor of the contributions older Americans make to our country. In President Reagan's words, "With improved health care and more years of productivity, older citizens are reinforcing their historical roles as leaders." For over 10 years, Medicare Part D has helped reinforce Reagan's promise, allowing millions of American seniors to stay healthy and productive.

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For the ninth year in a row, the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries report they're happy with their Part D plans--and for good reason! Medicare Part D enables millions of seniors to choose a prescription medication plan that fits their health needs and their budget. This means that older Americans can afford to take the medicines they need, when they need them, ensuring that they can maintain their health whether they're enjoying the summer sun or a cool fall day.

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This month, Congress is enjoying a break from Capitol Hill for their August recess, but that doesn't mean you can't continue to advocate for policy change-- right in your own backyard. While our nation's policymakers spend some time in their home districts, here are three ways you can get involved and become an advocate for public policies that lead to safe, effective medicines:

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The results are in-- for the ninth year in a row, an overwhelming majority of older Americans agree that Medicare Part D works! Last week, Medicare Today released its 9th annual survey assessing seniors' opinions about Medicare prescription coverage. The study concluded that nearly 9 in 10 older Americans with Part D believe the program continues to deliver on its promise of giving them affordable access to the medicines they need.

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In an article published on Forbes, the President and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, Dr. John Lechleiter, highlighted the real story of life-saving medical advances for people with diabetes, pointing out that "an advance that appears incremental or limited may in fact make a big difference." A recent study from the affirmed that there is hope for the future in the fight against diabetes.

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For over a decade, Medicare Part D has helped older Americans gain access to affordable comprehensive prescription drug coverage, Today, it provides peace of mind and meaningful savings to 36 million seniors.

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The back-to-school frenzy is just around the corner, and for the 340,000 Texans diagnosed with Alzheimer's, getting educated is more important than ever. Learning about available resources and information is an important step in the early detection of Alzheimer's, which can make a big difference to patients, caregivers, and their loved ones.

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Earlier this month, the Alzheimer's Association International Conference gathered researchers and advocates in Copenhagen, Denmark to discuss the latest scientific breakthroughs on dementia, especially in its most common form: Alzheimer's disease.

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PDUFA Turns Two

Since it was initially passed more than two decades ago, the Prescription Drug User Fee Act has consistently strived to ensure that Americans have timely access to the new safe and effective medicines they need. Two years ago this month, President Obama signed the fifth version of the Act (PDUFA V) into law.

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On top of the red, white, and blue, a large part of what makes our nation great are the public policies we have in place to keep people healthy. With 39 million American seniors benefitting from prescription coverage under Medicare Part D, the program shines as one example of a truly American public policy.

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Did you know that more than one in eleven Americans has diabetes? What's more, one-quarter of those with diabetes don't even know they have it. These alarming statistics, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month, demonstrate the growing impact of the diabetes epidemic on Americans. But don't let these numbers frighten you; instead, take them as inspiration to turn the tide against diabetes.

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It's been a busy but successful week here at the 2014 BIO International Convention! Today, I'm wrapping up our coverage by sharing my top three takeaways from this week:

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Every year, more than 1.6 million Americans learn they have cancer. Though this number may seem disheartening, new opportunities to join the fight against cancer continue to spring up all across the country.

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How can collaboration accelerate the speed of innovation? Today's BIO Super session explored this question via the recently launched Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP), a partnership between the NIH, patient advocacy organizations, and pharmaceutical companies.

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1 in 10 Americans live with a rare disease, many of which currently do not have treatments or cures. Yesterday afternoon's BIO panel, Putting Patients at the Center: Innovative Partnerships Fueling the Orphan Drug Pipeline, explored how rare disease advocates can collaborate with industry, the scientific community and federal regulatory bodies to transform the innovative ecosystem and drive an evolution in patient-centered health care.

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This Saturday, thousands of people will join together to mark The Longest Day. Coordinated by the Alzheimer's Association, The Longest Day encourages people across the country to honor those living with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers and raise awareness for Alzheimer's care and research.

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How can U.S. lawmakers create economic and regulatory incentives to spur the research and development of new medicines? This challenge was the topic of discussion during last week's Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, held as part of Representatives Fred Upton and Diana DeGette's newly unveiled 21st Century Cures Initiative. During the hearing, multiple witnesses highlighted the bipartisan MODDERN Cures Act as one way policymakers can provide new research incentives to bring innovative medicines to the more than 160 million Americans who suffer from a chronic illness or a rare disease for which no treatment exists.

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For people like Stephen, who suffer from unmet medical conditions, the MODDERN Cures Act isn't just another piece of proposed legislation; it could mean the promise of additional years spent in the company of loved ones.

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If you know one of the the 39 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D, this statement from Sharon, a beneficiary in Washington, may sound familiar to you: "Without Medicare Part D, I would not be able to afford medications that help me live a healthy and productive life." By making medicines more affordable for our nation's seniors, Part D has shown Americans what a truly patient-centered public policy looks like.

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For the last 40 years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has celebrated May as Older Americans Month. This month we're taking the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of over 40 million Americans, and the policies that support them. Today, the celebration stands as an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of over 40 million Americans, and the policies that support them.

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Individuals with unmet medical needs across the country may have new hope for innovative new treatments. If Congress passes the Modernizing our Drug and Diagnostic Evaluation and Regulatory Network (MODDERN) Cures Act, we can move one step closer to making a difference for those patients. As of this week, the MODDERN Cures Act has 50 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

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Better patient outcomes start with increased patient engagement. The fifth reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA V), under the Federal Drug Administration Safety and Investment Act, promises to achieve this goal. Last week, as the FDA concluded a two-day public workshop, this promise took another step toward becoming a reality.

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Today, 25.8 million Americans suffer with diabetes, and our minority communities are especially affected, with Asian Americans encompassing 8.4%. According to the Office of Minority Health, Asian Americans are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as compared to non-Hispanic Whites.

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Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more than 8 million Americans now have access to insurance coverage that was previously unaffordable or unattainable. This figure surpassed initial estimates for signups through the ACA's state insurance exchanges. So, how will Americans in every state benefit from their new insurance coverage through the ACA? Let's take look at how the landmark legislation helps the following groups:

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Every May, we set aside one day to honor the most important women in our lives--our mothers. Growing up, your mother provided you with the tools needed to stay healthy, but now it's time for you to make sure she has access to the medicines she needs to stay healthier, longer. Luckily, that's where Medicare Part D prescription coverage comes in.

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The National Health Council defines a dormant therapy as "a new drug or biological product that has insufficient patent protection and meets the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) definition of unmet medical need." The millions of Americans who live with a rare or chronic disease define it more simply: a potential lifesaver.

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More than 400 million people around the world, including almost 1 in 10 Americans, live with a rare disease. Last week, advocates for rare disease patients will come together at the World Orphan Drug Congress to unite in support of the development of rare disease medicines, also known as "orphan drugs."

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When it comes to your prescription plan, your doctor knows best. By sticking to the regime your doctor recommends, you can better manage your health and avoid unnecessary (and potentially expensive) medical problems. This month's Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) public meeting discussed whether or not Medicare Part D impacts older Americans' ability take their medicines as directed.

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I'm proud to introduce Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), a fantastic organization focused on advancing Latinas in California. For 25 years, HOPE has helped over 40,000 Latinas attain better education, have access to health care, increase their civic participation, and achieve economic empowerment.

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The Alzheimer's Association turned Washington, D.C. purple this week for its 26th annual Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum! Alzheimer's patients, caregivers for loved ones with the disease, and other advocates from all 50 states gathered to speak with their members of Congress about legislation that could advance Alzheimer's research, improve patient access to diagnostic tests and treatments, and promote education and awareness about the disease.

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Speeding safe and effective medicines to patients begins with smart policy. Over the last 20 years, the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) has played a key role in ensuring that the FDA reviews potential treatments quickly and efficiently so that people across the country can benefit from new breakthroughs. Now that the FDA has spent over a year and a half implementing its PDUFA V goals, take a look at our interactive timeline to view the progress made so far.

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Giving everyone the chance they deserve to reach their full potential starts by improving health and eliminating health disparities in all our communities. Health disparities refer to variations in health care access or different rates of disease amongst different groups of people. This month's designation as National Minority Health Month offers an ideal opportunity to examine how public policies can reduce health disparities and promote more equitable access to health care.

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Over 40% of the U.S. population lives with a long-term disease or disability, but for many, no treatments or cures exist. Not one medicine exists to treat the entire spectrum of people who need it. So how can we find new solutions for patients with chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, rare diseases such as ALS, multiple sclerosis, or even Alzheimer's? The answer lies in discovery.

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As our country's population ages, the management of chronic diseases will become one of the biggest challenges for our health care system. Nearly 90% of people between the ages of 65 and 74 live with one or more chronic conditions. For many of these individuals, Medicare Part D provides comprehensive, affordable access to the medicines they use to manage and improve their health.

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Alzheimer's affects 5.2 million Americans, a number that will only increase in the coming years. Did you know that you can make a difference? By gaining a better understanding of the situation that Alzheimer's patients face, you can become a voice of support and change.

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Thanks to Medicare Part D, many seniors are now able to spend more quality time with their families and less time in hospital rooms. A new study, conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Chicago, shows that expansion of prescription coverage under Part D has reduced hospital admissions by 8%.

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March marks the beginning of spring, but this year it also marks an ending: the health insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) close for enrollment on March 31st.

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Medicare Part D has helped thousands in the Evergreen state gain access to innovative new treatments over the last 10 years. A new op-ed written by BJ Cavnor, executive director of One in Four Chronic Health, urges policymakers to make sure Washingtonians continue to benefit from this successful program. Of course, Medicare Part D isn't just helping the residents of Washington. Part D enables people all across the country to live longer, healthier lives. As a result of Part D, 90% of American seniors have comprehensive prescription coverage that provides access the medications they need.

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Did you know that nearly one in ten Americans live with a rare disease? In the U.S., a rare disease is defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people. Over 7,000 rare diseases have been identified so far, and each poses unique questions and challenges to companies and researchers looking for a cure.

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Good news from the FDA: for the first time since 2006, the number of new drug shortages has decreased. The reduction is due in part to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA V), passed as part of the Food and Drug Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) last July. The bill provided the FDA with "important new authorities and responsibilities to help prevent and mitigate drug shortages," stated Congressman Fred Upton at a recent meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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A new proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) threatens patient access to medicines by placing limits on Medicare Part D coverage for antidepressant medications, immunosuppressants used by transplant patients, and some cancer treatments. These drugs cannot necessarily be substituted, leaving patients vulnerable and potentially without access to the best drugs for their particular condition. Fortunately, the rule is not yet final, meaning you have the opportunity to protect patient access to vital medicines. Tell CMS today: don't restrict patient access to vital medicines by changing Part D coverage.

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When people gather to share knowledge, learn from each other, and evolve their understanding, a collaborative environment naturally develops. #PatientChat, hosted by health care platform Intake.Me, focuses on how you can be an active participant in your health care. Given CMM's mission of educating and empowering individuals to have an impact on health policy, I was excited to participate in this week's #PatientChat, which posed the question: What is an empowered caregiver?

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Did you watch President Obama's State of the Union address? If you were one of the millions of Americans who tuned in, you heard the president discuss a variety of items on the national agenda, from the economy to immigration. Our campaign team kept an ear out for mentions of the policies that impact Americans' health and put together this list of health care highlights:

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At 9 pm EST tonight, President Obama will address the nation in his 6th State of the Union address. The speech may take place in the U.S. Capitol, but digital tools offer new ways for you to engage no matter where you live. Here are three ways you can get involved:

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Patents: they're not just for the Albert Einsteins and Thomas Edisons of the world. Every year, over half a million patent applications are filed in the U.S. alone. However, whether you're talking about the latest smartphone or a new medicine, bringing a product to market isn't as easy as simply filing a patent. Instead, applying for a patent is just the first step of a journey that includes trial and error, regulation, and testing--a process that often takes years.

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For Boston's newly-elected mayor Martin Walsh, Alzheimer's disease hits close to home: Walsh's late grandmother suffered from the disease for the last several years of her life. With this personal experience in mind, perhaps it's no surprise that one of Mayor Walsh's first actions as mayor was to unveil plans for a city-wide initiative to support and train Alzheimer's caregivers and improve city services available to Alzheimer's patients and their families.

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The new year always marks a fresh start, with new ideas, innovations, and breakthroughs building off previous success. As we look ahead to 2014, here are some of the healthcare trends you can expect to see this year.

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As 2013 winds down, I thought I'd take a look back at some of my favorite moments from this year. While they vary in time and place, they all have one thing in common: our supporters and campaign partners! When legislators and other policymakers make decisions that impact health care, it's your voice that matters most. Thank you for joining our campaign and for sharing your stories.

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How does a new molecule become a medicine? To help explain the journey, we wanted to share this helpful step-by-step guide published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It breaks down the drug development process into its five major components.

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As Medicare Part D reached its first decade last Sunday, people and organizations across the web shared their stories of how Part D helps millions of Americans lead longer, healthier lives. Check out the stories that caught our eye.

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There's strength in numbers--a lot of strength. That's the lesson learned from the National Institutes of Health Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP), one of several projects aimed at finding new ways to prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease.

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Medicare Part D turns 10 this Sunday, marking a full decade of helping millions of older Americans afford the prescription drug coverage they need. Since a vast majority of seniors with Part D take prescription medicines on a daily basis, we thought it only fitting that we share a "daily dose" of Medicare Part D to celebrate this milestone.

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Since launching our petition to protect Medicare Part D, nearly 25,000 Americans have told us how Part D is so important to them or to their families. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we wanted to share some of the reasons they've mentioned.

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A decade after its passage, Part D is a proven success, offering affordable drug coverage to over 30 million seniors and coming under $334 billion under original budget projections. In honor of Part D's tenth anniversary. David Kendall, Senior Fellow for Health and Fiscal Policy for think tank Third Way, examines ten of Part D's major achievements in this recent report.

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Today, our nation honors the millions of veterans who have joined our nation's armed forces over the years. These brave men and women dedicate years of their lives in service to our country. In addition to our gratitude and respect, veterans deserve something else: comprehensive, affordable access to the medicines they may need.

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Every 68 seconds, an American develops Alzheimer's. And every 68 seconds, one more family faces the difficult questions of how to help their loved ones cope with the disease.

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No matter which team you cheer for, we can all appreciate the value of teamwork both on and off the field. Today's LillyPad guest post shines the spotlight on team spirit in today's post on efforts to find new treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

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Did you know that the average new drug requires approximately 10-15 years and an investment of $800 million to $1 billion to develop and bring to patients? Or that only 1 out of every 5,000-10,000 molecules ever makes it to from the laboratory all the way to market? In honor of Halloween, trick or treat down the current patent path to learn why creating breakthrough new medicines can be such a scary process!

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With the federal government shutdown officially over, thousands of federal employees headed back to work last week. Here's how public health agencies were affected by the shutdown, and what employees will be catching up on in the weeks to come.

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October marked the 50th anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act. And 50 years later, while progress has been made, Vice President Joe Biden proudly proclaims that more must be done and more will be done. This week's Links explore the issue of mental health care, both at the national level and the local, community level.

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If you're interested in the future of Alzheimer's care, you'll want to add this event to your calendar: the Alzheimer's Association, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, and PhRMA are hosting a day-long forum on Wednesday to discuss how we can accelerate progress against Alzheimer's disease.

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Did you know that nearly two-thirds of older Americans have trouble understanding information about their prescription drugs? In honor of Health Literacy Month, our friends from LillyPad are here to tell us how Medicare Part D is helping seniors understand and access the medicines they need to stay healthy.

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Another eAdvocacy Summit has come and gone, and as usual, we're left more excited than ever about the digital tools we can use to engage with and learn from our online community: you! After listening to experts from AARP, Google, the Alzheimer's Association, Facebook, and many more, here are the three key pieces of advice you need to do to make your digital advocacy a success.

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October is Health Literacy Month, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Health literacy is the ability to read, understand, and act on information about your health and about health services. Test your health literacy IQ in our quiz!

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The third annual eAdvocacy Summit got underway this morning! We've joined over 150 other advocates here at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. (and many more watching the livestream) to discuss the best ways to use digital tools and social media to amplify our voices online.

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Health insurance marketplaces have officially opened for enrollment, allowing millions of Americans to explore and compare their health insurance options. What's next for the Affordable Care Act? Take a look at our infographic.

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This week marked an important milestone for one of Lilly's key advocacy areas: the launch of PACE Network USA. PACE encourages public policies and health care decisions that speed the development of new medicines, assure that cancer treatments respond to the needs and qualities of individual patients, and improve patient access to the most effective cancer medicines.

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Today is a landmark day for the Affordable Care Act: health insurance marketplaces in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are officially open for business. This means that individuals and families who did not previously have health insurance can begin comparing plans and deciding what type of insurance they want to buy.

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How do seniors really feel about Medicare Part D? Medicare Today and KRC Research asked just that question in their 8th annual poll on the program, released last week. Find out the details in today's post, which originally appeared on LillyPad.

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Two new reports show Medicare Part D is working better than ever for seniors who need prescription drug coverage.

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Did you know that while about 36 million people worldwide have Alzheimer's disease, only nine countries have a national strategy to deal with the effects of Alzheimer's in their country?

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The Affordable Care Act is about to hit another big milestone: health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment in less than a month! From October 1 until March 31, 2014, individuals and families across the country will be able to pick and choose a health insurance plan from their state or federal marketplace.

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The Tampa Tribune's moving profile of a former Army chaplain, Bernie Lieving, Jr. who is a full-time caregiver for his wife Dorothy, put a face to the everyday struggles faced by patients with Alzheimer's disease and their families.

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Earlier in the summer, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a draft decision that would deny Medicare coverage for a groundbreaking test that could help lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease. The co-chairs of the Congressional Taskforce on Alzheimer's Disease, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Rep. Maxine Waters of California, wrote to CMS asking it to reconsider its decision.

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Need help understanding how to enroll in the new health insurance exchanges that are set to open October 1? More than 1,300 community health centers and other organizations are setting up programs to help individuals across the country navigate this new way to purchase health insurance.

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They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the case of Medicare Part D, imitation is also a sure sign that the program is working: as Peter Pitts explains in this Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed, states have been using the successful Medicare Part D program as a model for reform of their own Medicaid initiatives.

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Last Friday, political strategist Doug Schoen wrote a great piece for Forbes about the benefits of Medicare Part D. He argues that Democrats and Republicans need to "make sure this program stays out of the fray of upcoming budget negotiations."

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With cuts to Medicare and Social Security under consideration in Washington, older Americans simply cannot afford to pay more for their medicines. In South Carolina, state Senator Kent Williams has joined the Campaign for Modern Medicines' efforts to protect Medicare Part D and the affordable prescription drug coverage it provides for millions of Americans.

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Over the last week, we've seen incredible efforts from the Alzheimer's community to tell the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) why it ought to offer Medicare coverage for an important test that could help diagnose Alzheimer's disease. Advocacy organizations are collecting comments from people all over the country to submit to CMS, showing the agency exactly why early, accurate Alzheimer's diagnosis matters so much to millions of Americans and their loved ones.

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A decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would limit access to a new diagnostic test for Alzheimer's disease. Luckily, that decision is not final--and you have until 5 pm tomorrow to tell CMS why patients deserve to know their Alzheimer's risk.

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South Carolina state Senator Darrell Jackson, Sr. has spent over 20 years advocating for his community. When Senator Jackson heard of recent proposals to place price controls, sometimes called "rebates," to the Medicare Part D program, he recognized the negative impact these policies could have on his constituents and other older Americans.

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In South Carolina, state Senator John Matthews has joined the Campaign for Modern Medicines' efforts to oppose Washington proposals that would force drug makers to pay new taxes, or so-called "rebates," on prescription medicines sold under Medicare Part D.

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As the Alzheimer's Association International Conference meets in Boston this week, we thought it would be a good time to revisit our interview with Constantina Mizis, founder and CEO of theLatino Alzheimer's & Memory Disorders Alliance.

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All across the country, Americans are asking their community leaders to help spread the word about the importance of protecting Medicare Part D. In South Carolina, state Representative Terry Alexander has joined our efforts. Today, he shares with us why he opposes price controls in the Part D program.

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We recently posted an interactive map illustrating how the Affordable Care Act's new Health Insurance Marketplaces (HIMs) are evolving around the country. Included in the map is a projection of each state's HIM enrollment by 2018. While calculating these estimates, we recognized an interesting relationship between the marketplaces and states' decisions to expand or not expand their Medicaid programs.

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Lapses in mental health care are said to double the risk of incarceration among patients. In fact, legislators and law officials across the country are recognizing the need to improve care for mental health patients - and this is especially true in North Carolina's Wake County.

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Last week, we wrote about a new study in the American Journal of Managed Care that determined the addition of a prescription drug program to Medicare expanded access and increased the chances Medicare patients took the medicines prescribed by their doctors. This, in turn, contributed to a savings of $2.3 billion for the Medicare system. This study focused on Medicare beneficiaries who had congestive heart failure, but the same story holds true when you look at an even broader sample.

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How can we encourage policymakers to support legislation that promotes innovation in research for medicines that treat unmet medical needs? It's a question that the MODDERN Cures Act can help answer.

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Medicare Part D improved prescription drug coverage for millions of seniors after it was put into place in 2006. Among those seniors, there's a large group for whom Medicare Part D has been particularly helpful: dual eligibles, those individuals whose age, disability, and/or low-income status make them eligible for financial assistance from both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

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After 38 long years of negotiations between dozens of legislators, through several presidencies, and despite many failed attempts, Congress passed the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003. Medicare Part D now offers coverage to more than 31 million American seniors, who report a 90% satisfaction rate with the program, which has also increased medication adherence among older Americans.

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A recent study in the American Journal of Managed Care provides new evidence that when patients can afford to stick to the medication regimen prescribed by their doctor, they're able to stay healthier and reduce their risk of medical complications, saving money for Medicare in the process.

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The American Society of Clinical Oncologists held its annual meeting in Chicago this week, where a team of researchers released some intriguing information about how Medicare Part D has helped elderly cancer patients reduce their out-of-pocket drug costs.

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We are excited to welcome the Campaign for Modern Medicines' newest partners: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention state chapters in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. CMM partners use their voices to help accomplish our mission: ensuring individuals have access to the safe, effective, and breakthrough medicines of today and tomorrow.

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Across the country, Medicare Part D is helping seniors stay healthy and save money on their prescription medicines. For the African-American community of Los Angeles, it's made a big difference, says Loretta Jones, CEO of Healthy African American Families.

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North Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory has proposed adding a requirement to the budget that would require mental health patients to seek prior authorization before fill prescriptions for new medications. Such requirements would likely threaten the vital access to medicines that patients need.

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Looking for more information about the MODDERN Cures Act? Watch this interview with Myrl Weinberg, CEO of the National Health Council.

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We've talked about how Alzheimer's disease is having an impact on the U.S. as a whole, so today we're focusing on three states--Texas, California, and Illinois--to give you a better idea of how Alzheimer's is affecting patients and caregivers in different regions of the country.

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As many states around the U.S. struggle to pull themselves out of a financial hole, legislators are making decisions that are likely to impact patient health. It is during these trying economic times that policies are evaluated primarily on cost-effectiveness. However, to do so with a health policy would be a mistake: this is an industry that must before all consider the patient.

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We are excited to welcome the Campaign for Modern Medicine's newest partner: the Michigan Osteopathic Association, an organization dedicated to the promotion of quality patient care and to the educational, informational and legislative needs of its members. There are a number of issues important to both MOA and CMM, including the protection of Medicare Part D.

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The Kaiser Family Foundation's most recent poll shows that 42% of Americans--four in ten people--remain unaware that the ACA is "the law of the land." This number is even higher among low-income households: in that community, nearly 60% of people don't know that the ACA is law.

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Last week, nearly 1,000 supporters flocked to DC for the 25th annual Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum. Nearly a hundred showed their support at a Senate hearing on aging. This group of advocates, it was clear, was advocating for those who no longer have the capacity to stand up for themselves.

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After a busy week of attending sessions and focusing on the intersection of policy, advocacy, and health at the BIO Convention, we're wrapping up our coverage by sharing the top five themes we heard over and over again.

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Today's Alzheimer's Forum at the BIO Convention focused on the best approaches to supporting research into Alzheimer's prevention and treatment; how to collaborate with patients, their families, and caregivers; and what steps we can take to get ahead of this disease.

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Next week marks the beginning of the 20th BIO International Convention in Chicago. Throughout the week, CMM will be live-tweeting from a variety of sessions related to some of the health policy issues we care most about, from the implementation of PDUFA to how the U.S. is dealing with the rise in Alzheimer's disease.

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The development of a new medicine is a costly and time-consuming process: on average, it takes 10-15 years and over $1 billion to take a medicine from molecule to patient.

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As members of Congress look for ways to dig out of the spending mess they created, changes to Medicare's prescription drug program, Part D, continue to be discussed. Today, with the release of President Obama's budget proposal, this idea is at the top of the debate again.

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Since its launch in 2006, critics of Medicare's prescription drug program Part D have argued it should be reformed to be more like the Veterans Administration drug benefit. The problem with their argument is that cost is only one factor when comparing these two programs. And where it really matters, patient satisfaction and improved health care, the VA is lacking when compared to Medicare Part D.

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One thing many people don't realize is Medicare covers more than just those who are 65 or older. Through its prescription drug program, Part D, Medicare also provides primary prescription drug coverage to so-called "dual-eligibles" - those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid - as well as other low-income beneficiaries.

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Think you have the facts right about Medicare Part D? Then it is time for a pop quiz! Test your knowledge on Medicare Part D below.

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It's not just the states that are choosing to establish their own health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act - the District of Columbia is also in the process of establishing one. Along with seventeen other states, DC has chosen to establish a state-based marketplace and has received conditional approval from HHS.

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The Virginia Rural Health Association (VRHA) is a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to improving the health of 2.5 million Virginians in rural areas. Affordable prescription drug coverage is extremely important to maintaining the health and wellbeing of the community the VRHA serves.

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This week, House Republicans and Senate Democrats released competing versions of a fiscal year 2014 federal budget.

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Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced a change to how they estimate costs within Medicare. The CBO made this revision because of growing evidence that shows increases in prescription drug use leads to reductions in spending for medical services.

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We wanted to share this New York Nightly News interview with Seth Ginsberg, President of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, who shares his thoughts about the risks that patients could face if Congress makes cuts to Medicare programs like Part D.

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In a February 2013 report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that Part D is the single biggest driver of lower overall Medicare spending projections. The CBO recognized this by incorporating the savings that result from the use of prescription medicines in the calculation of the total cost of Medicare.

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On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services issued its final rule on essential health benefits, a major component of the Affordable Care Act.

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It is almost budget season on Capitol Hill and in this era of increased discussion on deficit and debt reduction strategies, everyone is watching closely to see what policy ideas are proposed in the various budgets.

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In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama made clear that older Americans are at risk of having big changes made to their prescription drug benefits under Medicare.

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Families USA held their Health Action 2013 conference in Washington D.C. last week. The conference brought state and national health advocates together to discuss challenges and plans for the coming year. One of the bigger topics of discussion was how to advocate for the proper implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

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On Tuesday, the Pew Charitable Trusts hosted an event addressing FDA reform. Panelists discussed innovation, improving FDA consistency and removing impediments to medical product development. As we discussed during our PDUFA campaign, FDA reform can speed the time it takes to bring safe, effective new medicines to the patients who need them, while promoting global leadership in biomedical innovation.

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As states begin to implement their health insurance exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services has announced that it will begin referring to the exchanges as "health insurance marketplaces." The change is meant to reflect that exchanges are, in fact, a marketplace where individuals can browse a variety of health insurance plans before purchasing one that fits their needs and budget.

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If you thought the debate over taxes, government spending, the deficit, and the federal budget ended with the fiscal cliff deal on December 31, 2012, you're not so lucky. As we look into 2013, there are some major deadlines that will spur further debate among Congress and the President about future fiscal decisions for the country. As always, these debates don't happen in a vacuum and health care spending will continue to be part of these discussions on how to reduce federal spending.

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Timely access to new medicines. Stronger drug safety standards. Encouragement for medical innovation. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) includes all of the above, and it's being put into effect this year by the Food and Drug Administration. We wanted to share this great video from PhRMA detailing what PDUFA entails and how its helped individuals have access to safe and innovative new treatments for everything from cancer to heart disease to infectious diseases.

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Earlier this week, we wrote about the conditional approval the Obama Administration has given 17 states to operate their own health insurance exchanges, with the other 33 choosing to have their exchange run as a state-federal partnership or run by the federal government. As we've discussed in the past, exchanges are a major piece of the Affordable Care Act and how states chose to operate their exchanges was a big question coming into this year.

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With the deadline for opening healthcare exchanges just one year away, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it has approved more states to implement their own health insurance exchanges. In December, states were required to notify the federal government whether or not they had decided to run their own state exchange or partner with the federal government to create an exchange. So far, the federal government has approved the plans set forth by 17 states and the District of Columbia.

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Many of you joined the Campaign for Modern Medicines because you were concerned about continued access to safe and effective medicines. The campaign started out focusing on the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. PDUFA, as it is commonly called in Washington, is a wide-ranging bill that Congress must reauthorize every five years. It affects many aspects of the drug review process - from funding to timelines to FDA capacity. This time around, reauthorization posed both a great opportunity and risk for improving patient access to innovative medicines.

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The CMM team would like to thank all partners and supporters for their help this year and wish you a wonderful holiday season. We've worked hard this year to help individuals receive access to safe, effective, and innovative medicines-- and we couldn't have done it without your help.

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You've probably heard a lot of talk recently about the "fiscal cliff" and the negotiations over the federal budget that have been taking place in Congress. Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers have offered different solutions for reducing the federal deficit. From raising taxes to cutting government programs, there are a lot of different options on the table.

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Just before Thanksgiving, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a handful of new guidelines related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We were particularly interested in an update to the rule relating to the prescription drug category that is part of state essential health benefits requirements.

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Over the past months, we've been writing a lot about specific pieces of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) such as essential benefits and health insurance exchanges, and how those policies will impact health care in states upon implementation of the ACA. However, sometime a focus on specific provisions of the ACA causes us to lose track of why the ACA was passed in the first place and how it's designed to improve public health by increasing access to insurance.

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The federal prescription drug program, Medicare Part D, is helping millions of seniors live longer, healthier lives. Affordable access to high-quality prescription drugs helps seniors maintain their health without emptying their wallets.

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As the holiday season approaches, the CMM team wants to let all of you know how grateful we are for your continued support. We'll be taking a break from blogging over Thanksgiving weekend to reflect on how fortunate we are to have our family, friends, and a great community of support for our efforts in providing access to safe and effective medicines to all.

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Today is World Diabetes Day, a day of awareness and unity for the global diabetes community. Over 160 countries around the globe will host events to increase education and awareness about the toll diabetes takes on individuals, communities, and nations.

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After a long election season, yesterday was Election Day. President Barack Obama won, the Democrats maintained control of the Senate, and the Republicans retained control of the House.

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This op-ed by Joel White, the Executive Director of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, makes an intriguing statement about how the United States could reduce its health care costs: by increasing adherence to medications.

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Medicare Part D is the prescription drug program that provides 27 million American seniors with affordable prescription medications. A successful program with a 90% satisfaction rate, Part D also manages to cost 41% less than originally anticipated, says the Congressional Budget Office. How is that possible? Here's a closer look.

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The Medicare Prescription Drug Program, also known as Medicare Part D, is the federal program that gives more than 27 million seniors access to prescription medications. Signed into law by President Bush and expanded by President Obama, Medicare Part D is a bipartisan program that works.

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With a September 30th deadline to pick a benchmark insurance plan that will define the basic coverage requirements for many health insurance plans in the state, many states decided to choose a small employer plan as the benchmark. However, some states--such as Alabama and Maryland--have chosen a different path.

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The Affordable Care Act requires states to determine a minimum level of coverage for all health insurance plans offered through health insurance exchanges and the private marketplace starting in 2014. States have the flexibility to choose essential health benefits by identifying a benchmark plan for the state.

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From vaccinations, to cardiovascular drugs, to treatments that manage chronic conditions, medicines help you and your family stay in good health. Carlos Galindo-Elvira, Chief Development Officer at Valle del Sol knows this first-hand.

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Last week, we attended Politico Pro's panel discussion: "Deep DIVE - The Future of the FDA." It was a fascinating update from the panel that included experts from Friends of Cancer Research, The Pew Charitable Trust's Health Group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

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Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration began operating under the guidelines established in the most recent version of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA V).

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As part of healthcare reform, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) has been asked to identify new ways to manage health care for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, known as dual eligibles. Over the last two years, 26 states have submitted plans describing how they would create programs to better and more efficiently care for their state's dual eligible population.

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Marie Dahlstrom, Executive Director of Familias en Accion, describes how working with cancer patients has shown her how timely access to innovative medicines has prolonged lives and improved health.

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As the Campaign expands its health policy advocacy, one topic that's particularly of interest to us is the development of Essential Health Benefits, or EHBs, the minimal level of health care coverage that insurers are required to provide under the Affordable Care Act.

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At the National Council of La Raza Annual Conference in July, we had the pleasure of speaking with Juan H. Flores, Executive Director of La Fe Policy Research and Education Center. In this video, he discusses why it's important that individuals engage with and understand the policies that impact their health.

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States have to decide how they want to implement their health insurance exchange - whether to create a state level exchange, a regional exchange, or an exchange run in partnership with the federal government - and each state is taking their own path.

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One of the biggest components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange system. Exchanges are a new way of purchasing health insurance, and they are closely intertwined with some of the other important aspects of health care reform that will impact individual access to medicines.

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To achieve our goal of making a real impact on the policy decisions that affect our health, we're asking organizations to partner with CMM. Why should you join us? We answer that question in today's post.

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Access to safe and effective medicines is an essential part of any individual's health care. Whether you're taking medicine for a chronic condition or receiving a treatment for the common cold, having access to the best and most effective prescription drugs helps you improve your health today and avoid health complications in the future.

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This week was an exciting one for PDUFA: on Tuesday, the Senate passed the Food and Drug Administration Innovation and Safety Act, the bill that reauthorizes PDUFA for five more years. The overwhelmingly positive vote demonstrates the bipartisan support for this important legislation.

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Today is the last day of the 2012 BIO International Convention, and we're sad to see it end. We had a great time discussing important biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry with attendees from all over the world, and had the chance to attend numerous sessions about PDUFA. We were glad to see so many in the biotech industry take a serious interest in FDA reform and the timely passage of PDUFA.

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This week, in honor of this week's BIO International Convention, we'd like to feature one of our great BIO-affiliated organizations: the Virginia Biotechnology Association. Virginia BIO is part of our diverse coalition of patient advocacy organizations, industry groups, and businesses during our campaign urging Congress to pass a clean and timely PDUFA.

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The Campaign for Modern Medicines is excited to announce another round of endorsements for the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), a bill that has provided millions of Americans with faster access to cutting-edge medical innovations. For the past twenty years, PDUFA has played a leading role in ensuring that the FDA maintains its ability to review new medicines in a speedy, thorough manner.

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In this excellent editorial, Kelly Gillespie, Executive Director of the Missouri Biotechnology Association, examines the role PDUFA has played in the health of patients and to the American economy. Reauthorizing PDUFA V in a timely manner will help the FDA continue to deliver safe new medicines to patients quickly, while encouraging further investment in the biomedical innovation that results in breakthrough treatments and cures.

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In an editorial for The Hill, Sandra Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America, calls on Congress to "reauthorize PDUFA in a timely and efficient manner." Raymond emphasizes the important role that PDUFA has played during the past two decades in enabling the FDA to evaluate treatments for Lupus in a thorough and timely manner.

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Throughout the Senate debate on PDUFA this week, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) have urged their colleagues to work together in a bipartisan manner and minimize amendments to PDUFA, so that the bill can be passed expeditiously. In this editorial for The Hill, they explain why PDUFA's reauthorization will benefit patients, the FDA, and innovation.

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Last week, the White House expressed its "strong support" for the PDUFA legislation currently being considered by the Senate. In a statement released by the Office of Management and Budget, the administration praised the user fee bill for "promoting innovation, safety, and access to medicines and devices," issues which are "critical to the Nation's health."

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If you haven't seen this editorial on PDUFA from this weekend's Washington Post, we encourage you to take a look. The editorial board expresses their support for a timely PDUFA, and urges Congress to reauthorize PDUFA expeditiously for the benefit of patients and the FDA.

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced that it will hold two markup sessions to consider possible amendments to the PDUFA legislation. The Subcommittee on Health will meet on Tuesday, May 8th, while the entire Energy and Commerce Committee will convene on Thursday, May 10th.

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Last month, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick wrote a letter to Congressional leaders expressing his support for the timely reauthorization of PDUFA and MDUFA. We wanted to share it with you because we think it makes several really good points about why a timely PDUFA is so important.

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In the midst of the activity around the Senate HELP Committee's PDUFA markup on Wednesday, a report on the FDA review process, by The Manhattan Institute's Avik Roy, caught our eye. While there's no question that the FDA could use some reform, we don't think that it is in the best interests of patients or the FDA to make such a major change in the midst of the reauthorization of PDUFA V.

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This week, both the House and the Senate will hold markup sessions on the user fee legislation. These markups are an important step--it means that PDUFA legislation is moving forward, and that there is real hope for a timely reauthorization. We will need your help more than ever to urge Congress to stay on track and pass a clean PDUFA by July 4th.

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Wednesday's Energy and Commerce Committee hearing will focus on how PDUFA helps patients, as well as how it benefits biomedical innovation and ensures the United States continues to lead the world in the discovery and delivery of innovative new medicines.

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As Congress continues to consider PDUFA's reauthorization, it is more important than ever that we urge our Congressional representatives to put patients ahead of politics and pass a clean, timely PDUFA, free of controversial and costly amendments that would place unnecessary burdens on the FDA.

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We are launching a petition to urge Congress to pass a clean PDUFA by July 4th, so that FDA is best able to fulfill its mission of speeding innovative new treatments and cures to patients and so the U.S. can continue to lead the world in biomedical innovation.

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Over the past year, we've been honored to work with a wide variety of organizations who also believe that a clean, timely PDUFA reauthorization is the best way to provide patients with the innovative medicines they need, while ensuring that the United States continues to lead the world in the discovery and delivery of these new treatments and cures. This week, we're putting the spotlight on MichBio, a Michigan-based bioscience industry trade association that is also the official state affiliate of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization.

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In this op-ed, Tom Swegle, CEO of MedCara Pharmaceuticals, explains how PDUFA is critical to the creation of a regulatory environment that promotes innovation and ensures that the U.S. can maintain its global leadership in biomedical discovery and development.

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In the last few months, we've welcomed 16 new endorsers to our campaign urging Congress to reauthorize PDUFA in a timely manner, which will bring enormous benefits to both patients and American medical innovation. Each of them understands the value of PDUFA to their communities and to public health, and we're proud to have their support as we urge Congress to reauthorize PDUFA by July 4th.

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We're excited to introduce our first endorser guest blog! California Women Lead is an admirable organization that seeks to engage women in the political process and encourage them to run for political office. In this post, they tell us why they are urging Congress to reauthorize PDUFA in a timely manner, and why they're educating their members on why PDUFA is critical to public health and to American medical innovation.

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In an interesting post on the FDA Voice blog, FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg explored how smart regulation can help encourage innovation. We thought we'd take a look at how PDUFA V's enhancements to the FDA's regulatory processes will support innovation and bring enormous benefits to patients and to public health.

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In our next endorser spotlight, we're featuring NAMI North Carolina. We're proud to support their efforts in helping patients affected by mental illness, and in raising awareness about mental health.

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Tomorrow morning, Congress continues the PDUFA reauthorization process with another hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health. Here are some ways you can help us spread the word about the hearing and the importance of a clean PDUFA.

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At a recent meeting of the House Committee on Appropriations, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg addressed the President's budget request for PDUFA and the other user fee programs that will be considered by Congress in the next few months.

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In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, Dr. Andrew Von Eschenbach, Chairman of the Manhattan Institute's Project FDA, considers how FDA reform will help the United States remain a leader in biomedical innovation. Although Dr. Von Eschenbach brings up some good points about the need to improve the FDA regulatory framework, we don't think that PDUFA V is the appropriate place for a massive overhaul of the FDA.

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We were excited to have the chance to speak with Peter Pitts, president and co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, and get his thoughts on the PDUFA reauthorization hearing held by the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health last week.

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If you've been reading our blog over the last week, then you know that this morning at 10 am EST is the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health's hearing on the FDA's PDUFA proposal. While you're waiting for the hearing to start, take a minute to check out some of our background on PDUFA.

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In addition to PDUFA, the Energy and Commerce Committee will be discussing legislation on innovation in children's pharmaceuticals at next week's hearing. The Campaign is supporting efforts in Congress to make PREA and BPCA permanent.

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In a recent interview with Investors Business Daily, Dr. George Scangos, CEO of drug manufacturer Biogen Idec, discussed some of the major issues facing the biotechnology industry in 2012. He believes that 2012 holds great potential for the industry--and that PDUFA would bring great consistency and predictability to the FDA approval process.

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According to a recent California Healthcare Institute survey, 8 in 10 biomedical CEOs think the current uncertain FDA regulatory process is one of the biggest threats to the biomedical industry.

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John Castellani, president and CEO of PhRMA, provides a great look at how PDUFA will help the FDA fulfill its mission of delivering safe, innovative medicines to patients in a timely manner.

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The team at the Campaign for Modern Medicines wishes you all the best this holiday season! We'll be taking a break from posting until after the new year, but we'll be back in action in January.

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As PDUFA V moves towards reauthorization in 2012, we're pleased to see that additional groups are recognizing that PDUFA V will improve the delivery of new medicines to patients, support medical innovation, and promote the United States' position as a global leader in the development of new treatments and cures.

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Joseph Antos is a leading health policy and economics scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a health adviser to the CBO. He recently wrote a great article on how the proposed rebates to Medicare Part D are actually a tax, and could increase health care costs for all Americans.

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Dr. David Charles, Chairman of the Alliance for Patient Access, discusses PDUFA's impact on the FDA's review process for innovative new drugs.

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An article at Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) offers further insight into how PDUFA V will improve the FDA's approval process and help it deliver innovative medicines to patients in a timely manner.

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Over the last fiscal year, the FDA has approved 35 innovative treatments for a range of diseases, making 2011 one of the highest approval periods in the past decade.

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In Massachusetts, state senators are expressing their concerns about how changes to Medicare Part D could negatively affect beneficiaries, biomedical innovation, and the state's economic well-being.

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The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan has been working hard to inform Michigan lawmakers, including U.S. Representatives Dave Camp and Fred Upton, of the risks posed to patients by potential reforms to Medicare Part D.
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We are pleased to hear that President Obama has signed an executive order to help remedy the emerging but is complex problem of drug shortages. Find out more.

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At the FDA's public meeting on the PDUFA reauthorization last Monday, The Competitive Enterprise Institute shared some comments supporting the proposed PDUFA agreement, which they recently posted in full on their website.

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With your support, the Campaign's petition urging Congress not to make changes to Medicare Part D that would raise premiums on older Americans has collected more than 5,000 signatures in less than a month. It's an important step in our mission to remind the Super Committee that thousands of people care about the future of Medicare.

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This coming Monday, the FDA will be holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed changes to PDUFA V. Patients, consumers, healthcare professionals, and industry members will all have a chance to speak about how important it is that Congress pass a clean PDUFA that will speed the delivery of innovative medicines to patients who need them.

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We saw a great ad this week in Politico sponsored by the ALS Association. It was a powerful reminder of what is at stake as we talk about the need for a quick and clean PDUFA reauthorization.
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This afternoon, we're partnering with Eli Lilly & Company to host a Tweetchat on the value of Medicare Part D to older Americans. Join us (@modernmeds) and Lilly (@LillyPad) to ask questions and share opinions on how Medicare Part D is helping seniors afford innovative medicines.
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As part of its new "Innovation Initiative," the FDA released a report entitled "Driving Biomedical Innovation: Initiatives for Improving Products for Patients." The report addresses the immediate steps that the FDA can take to improve public health while bolstering the economy and increasing innovation in the biomedical industry. In today's blog, we look at how reauthorizing PDUFA V would help achieve these goals.

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In a recent blog post, Joe Trauger of the National Association of Manufacturers takes a look at how the proposed changes to Medicare Part D place additional financial burdens on the private sector and the economy.

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In a recent interview, Mary Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council and co-chair of advocacy organization Medicare Today, spoke to the folks at PhRMA about Medicare's prescription drug program, Part D. Her interview echoed a lot of what we've been talking about here at the Campaign for Modern Medicines: mainly, that Medicare Part D is a program that works extremely well and provides affordable, accessible healthcare to American seniors.

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The entire CMM team is gathering in Washington DC next weekend along with leaders from healthcare non-profits, think tanks, and advocacy organizations to attend the first annual eAdvocacy Summit. Find out more about the conference and what we will be doing there.

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With the dust settling on the FDA's PDUFA V technical letter announcement, we are now able to dig into the details. We've put together a timeline that helps illustrate what we can expect how PDUFA V would roll out over the next few years.

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The FDA and industry have reached an agreement on the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA V) -- the first major milestone in the reauthorization process.

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A number of outlets are reporting that the FDA-industry agreement on the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) is expected to be published on Thursday, September 1st

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Joe Panetta, President and CEO of BIOCOM and Alexis V. Lukianov, President and CEO of NuVasive and Chairman of BIOCOM, wrote an op-ed for The San Diego Union Tribune Thursday arguing that changes need to be made at FDA in order to bring new, safe cures and treatments to patients faster and to foster the innovation necessary to drive the life science industry in America.

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Recently, the Heart Rhythm Society put out a policy update on its website about the reauthorization of FDA user fee acts in Congress in 2012

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The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) just started its first hearing on FDA user fees in advance of multiple user fee reauthorizations (including PDUFA) in 2012. The committee will be hearing from FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg about PDUFA and other topics including medical device and generic drug user fee acts. Here are four things we are looking for.

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This Thursday, July 28, The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is holding its first hearing on FDA user fees in advance of multiple user fee reauthorizations (including PDUFA) in 2012.

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Michigan Representative Fred Upton wrote an op-ed for The Washington Times last week talking about the need for increased job creation.

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In a post on the Hill's Congress Blog, Frank Oldham, Jr., President and CEO of the National Association of People with AIDS, discussed the success of PDUFA in streamlining the drug review system and decreasing drug approval times.

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Jim Greenwood, the President of BIO, mentions PDUFA as one of his organizations priorities for the upcoming year in a Op-ed for Pharmtech.com.

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The Pink Sheet and FDA News reported that the FDA and industry representatives from PhRMA and the BIO have reached an agreement on the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA V). We thought it would be helpful to explore what those really mean for patients:

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Over at nationaljournal.com, John D. Donahue and Richard J. Zeckhause, professors at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, published an op-ed on the importance of public-private partnerships that held up PDUFA as a successful example.

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The Pink Sheet and FDA News reported that the FDA and industry representatives from PhRMA and the BIO have reached an agreement on the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA V). We thought it would be helpful to explore what those really mean for patients:

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A weekly rundown of important conversations about how we can can help bring new, safe medicines to patients faster, while spurring increased innovation in this country.

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A weekly rundown of important conversations about how we can can help bring new, safe medicines to patients faster, while spurring increased innovation in this country.

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PhARMA, which has been in talks with the FDA over a package of recommendations for PDUFA V, is close to nearing an agreement. Find out more about the proposed agreement and our position.

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A weekly rundown of important conversations about how we can can help bring new, safe medicines to patients faster, while spurring increased innovation in this country.

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While the worst of it may be behind us, the effects of the Great Recession are lingering at the state level. Forty-four states are projecting budget shortfalls for fiscal year 2012, prompting decision makers to focus their efforts on job growth and economic development initiatives.

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A weekly rundown of important conversations about how we can can help bring new, safe medicines to patients faster, while spurring increased innovation in this country.

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Even though you may not have heard anything about the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) recently, the 2012 reauthorization process is already well underway. June 2010 marked the beginning of a 15-month period during which discussions are held between the industry and the FDA on the structure and details of the next version (PDUFA V)

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A weekly rundown of important conversations about how we can can help bring new, safe medicines to patients faster, while spurring increased innovation in this country.

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Even before Congress begins to debate reauthorizing PDUFA (something they won't take up until 2012), there is an ongoing discussion among members of Congress about how government - specifically the FDA - can help bring new, safe medicines to patients faster, while spurring increased innovation in this country.

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