Potomac Current | November 2012


  • Obesity Community Participates in White House Meeting on Employer Wellness Programs
  • Obesity Community Comes Together at OAC Inaugural Convention
  • Obesity Community Groups Sign on Coalition Letter to FDA

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Editor: Christopher Gallagher, Director of ASMBS Washington Office
November, 2012

Obesity Community Participates in White House Meeting on
Employer Wellness Programs

On October 31, 2012, representatives from the obesity community (TOS, OAC,
ASBP and ASMBS) participated in a Families USA coordinated meeting with
senior White House staff and leadership from the Departments of Labor,
Treasury, and Health and Human Services (HHS) to discuss issues surrounding
employer wellness incentive programs. Specifically, participating groups
highlighted recent recommendations included in an AHA, ADA, ACS-CAN,
HERO’s Consensus Statement, entitled “Guidance for Reasonably Designed,
Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program Using Outcomes-Based Incentives.”

The meeting was very productive with issues surrounding those affected by
obesity comprising a major portion of the discussion. TOS Advocacy
Committee Chair Ted Kyle spoke for the obesity community — outlining what
works, and what doesn’t work, regarding employer wellness incentive
programs targeted at obesity. In addition, obesity advocates urged
policymakers to, at a minimum, ensure that there is parity in coverage for
obesity treatments compared to treatment avenues for other conditions subject
to wellness programs such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and
smoking cessation. The obesity community is formulating a follow-up letter to
Treasury, Labor and HHS summarizing the points made during the meeting.


Obesity Community Participates in OAC Inaugural Your Weight
Matters National Convention

Representatives from ASMBS, TOS and ASBP participated in the Obesity
Action Coalition’s inaugural convention, which took place in Dallas Texas
during late October. The meeting featured a special 4-hour long advocacy
training session where over 50 OAC advocates learned about the basics of
advocacy. The finale of the training was a series of “mock” Capitol Hill visits
with a slate of 11 different obesity community leaders — posing as legislative
staff for their mock legislator. The training, particularly the mock Hill visits,
allowed OAC advocates to sample what a real congressional visit on Capitol
Hill might feel like.


Obesity Community Groups Sign on Coalition Letter to FDA
regarding Patient-Focused Drug Development
On October 31, 2012, ASMBS joined with groups in the obesity community in
signing on a coalition comment letter in response to to the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) September 24, 2012, notice in the Federal Register
related to Patient-Focused Drug Development, an initiative designed to provide
for a more systematic approach to obtaining the patient perspective on certain
disease areas, including obesity.

The coalition letter, spearheaded by the STOP Obesity Alliance, expressed
support for FDA’s proposed criteria for disease area selection — stating that
“these criteria will accurately identify the diseases through which FDA might
benefit most by exploring a patient-focused drug development approach.” The
coalition also encouraged FDA to prioritize inclusion of disease areas that
meet all or multiple criteria, particularly those that represent the extremes of
the defined criteria.



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