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May 15, 2011

Advocates in Action

D.C. – The IMF and its advocates are gearing up for this year’s OVAC (One Voice Against Cancer) Lobby Day taking place May 23-24 in Washington, D.C. The IMF has been an OVAC member for many years along with numerous other patient advocacy organizations. Volunteers will gather from across the nation to meet with Members of Congress regarding funding at the NIH, NCI and FDA. A detailed recap of the event will be posted on our website next month.

New York – We are searching for a patient / caregiver in the New York area to meet with state legislators on Wednesday, June 1 regarding the oral chemo access bill being considered in New York.  If you or someone you know has or has had issues with high out-of-pocket costs associated with oral therapies, please email Meghan Buzby at mbuzby@myeloma.org or call her at 410-252-3457 for more details.

Wisconsin – Check out this month’s Advocates of the Month who participated in A Day at the Capitol in Madison last month.

Have you visited with your state or federal legislators? Do you have an ongoing relationship with any of your legislators? We want to hear about it! Please email Meghan Buzby at mbuzby@myeloma.org with your story and we will include it in our next Advocacy Update.

Happenings on the Hill

NIH Director Collins Calls for Higher Research Funding
At a recent Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins testified that the NIH is turning away a higher percentage of grant applications than at any other time in its history and made the case for additional funding for the agency in fiscal 2012.  Director Collins said NIH needs more money to compete scientifically with other nations around the world, as well as to fund research into drugs that could prevent the need for more expensive medical treatments and improve the quality of life for Americans.  NIH received a $322 million (1 percent) cut in FY 2011. 

House Releases Details on the FY 2012 Appropriations Process
Determined to keep the appropriations process on track this year, the House Appropriations Committee released the FY 2012 302(b) allocations.  This is one of the first steps for the annual appropriations process.  These allocations specify the specific overall spending amounts for various issue areas such as defense, health care, transportation, energy and other areas.  The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee allocation is $139 billion for FY 2012. This is $18 billion (13 percent) less than FY2011.  This is the subcommittee responsible for determining the funding levels for cancer research programs.  The Subcommittee is schedule to mark up the bill on July 26 with the full Committee marking up on August 2.

For more information about the legislation listed above or any other IMF advocacy initiative, contact IMF’s Director of Government Relations, Christine Murphy at cmurphy@myeloma.org or 703-738-1498.