Highlights from This Year in Public Policy

Date: December 9th, 2015

This year marked many important policy issues that were of interest to the Alliance. For this edition of Get Mad before You Get Old, we highlight some of the ongoing issues of interest. Reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) program The Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, passed in 1992, authorized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin collecting fees from drug sponsors to give it more resources to review new drugs more quickly. Since then it

Q & A with President and CEO Sue Peschin

Date: July 16th, 2014

Sue Peschin was recently named as president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research, taking over for Founder Dan Perry. This was a historic moment in the history of our organization. We sat down with Sue to get her thoughts on her position and her vision for the future of the Alliance. LLLI: You are the second president and CEO in the almost 30-year history of the Alliance. What are your initial thoughts on succeeding Dan Perry? Sue: It is an honor for me

Taxes or Medical Research? Tensions Rise in the Battle to Reduce the Deficit

Date: February 1st, 2013

The country did not go over the "fiscal cliff" thanks to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), which was passed by Congress on New Year’s Day.  While fears loomed that lawmakers would fail to act in time, ATRA addressed the expiration of numerous tax credits, raised some revenue, and temporarily delayed automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect on December 31, 2012. When ATRA became law America earned a temporary reprieve from imminent economic catastrophe.  However, our health

Battling Health Disparities: Closing the Gaps

Date: July 1st, 2009

Thanks to enormous advances in public health and exciting breakthroughs in medical innovation, over the past century Americans have seen dramatic gains in health and longevity. The United States currently spends more on health care than any other nation and for most people, this means access to one of the best health care systems in the world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t benefit all people equally and the reality is that most minorities have less access to care, fewer options for prevention

Pharmaceutical Companies Offer Free Medications to Those in Need

Date: October 1st, 2008

For the 47 million Americans without health insurance, each day is a struggle to find a way to pay for prescription drugs. Older adults, who are often prescribed several medications at a time, can find it even more difficult to pay medical bills. Despite the start of Medicare Part D in 2006, the elderly still spend thousands of dollars a year on prescription drug costs. What many people don’t know is that they may be eligible to receive their medications

Investing for Falls Prevention

Date: July 1st, 2008

Falls are a menace to older adults and our overstrained health care system. The direct medical costs of falls among older adults now total more than $19 billion, most of which must be absorbed by Medicare and Medicaid. A new bill recently passed by Congress seeks to address the problem of falls, but will have little impact without adequate funding. Life Changes in an Instant For those who live with an older adult, there is no more heart-stopping sound than the crash

National Institutes of Health Funding

Date: October 1st, 2005

It’s that time again, the annual struggle over funding for the National Institutes of Health. The latest negotiations between the House and Senate yielded a proposal for an NIH budget increase of one-half of one percent for fiscal year 2006, the smallest increase since the 1970s. But, just before the Thanksgiving recess, the House rejected the bill. The following day, the Senate voted to send the bill back to a conference committee to reach an acceptable compromise. The Good News When the

Medical Errors: How Many is Too Many?

Date: February 1st, 2005

Potentially deadly mistakes continue to plague U.S. hospitals, according to a new report. The study, which analyzed three years of Medicare patient records, estimates that medical errors cause an average of 195,000 in-hospital deaths per year. HealthGrades, a health care quality monitoring company, conducted the research. Their figure is more than twice the previous estimate from a landmark study conducted in 1999 by the Institute of Medicine. Different methodologies account for much of the difference, but experts are quick to emphasize

Champagne Wishes and Geriatric Dreams

Date: February 1st, 2004

Those inclined to celebrate the just-passed huge and historic expansion of Medicare should pause in their champagne toasts to consider this: most doctors, nurses and other health professionals in the U.S. receive almost no formal training in geriatrics, which seriously undermines the quality of care - especially safe prescription drug therapy - for America's seniors. It may be the biggest disconnect in American health care. The much needed Medicare prescription drug benefit will increase access to potent new medications. But what

First, Do No Harm to Basic Research

Date: February 1st, 2004

This article originally ran on By Morton Kondracke President Bush and the Republican Congress are on the verge of wreaking havoc upon on America's preeminent medical research system, at the same depriving themselves of a glowing political legacy. Republicans have stood firmly for free inquiry and free markets over the decades. Yet, in short order, the Bush administration, for ideological reasons, is squashing the most transformative areas of biomedical research -- stem cell and cloning research -- while, for budgetary reasons, slashing basic

Ageism--Part II: Prevention and Treatment for the Elderly

Date: October 1st, 2003

The perception of older Americans as frail, dependent, and isolated may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ageism, this prejudice that subtly dehumanizes older people and influences the way they are treated by society, is the subject of a revealing report published by the Alliance for Aging Research. In Ageism: How Healthcare Fails the Elderly, the Alliance cites mounting evidence of the ways in which ageism pervades our healthcare system and prevents older people from receiving optimal healthcare. This in turn leads to

It's a Matter of Ageism: Part I

Date: July 1st, 2003

The perception of older Americans as frail, dependent, and isolated may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ageism, this prejudice that subtly dehumanizes older people and influences the way they are treated by society, is the subject of a revealing new report published by the Alliance for Aging Research. In Ageism: How Healthcare Fails the Elderly, the Alliance cites mounting evidence of the ways in which ageism pervades our healthcare system and prevents older people from receiving optimal healthcare. This in turn leads to

Frequently Asked Questions About Therapeutic Clonin

Date: April 1st, 2003

Many of you have probably heard much of the dialogue in the cloning controversy. Between the opinion articles in your local paper and the national news that a religious sect claimed to have successfully cloned a human, cloning technology is often in the news. Unfortunately, much of this sort of news draws attention to reproductive cloning, which is widely and sensibly opposed, and thus fuels public uncertainty over the use of a science that holds great promise for curing deadly diseases. Groups

This Election's Unhealthy Debate Over Health Care

Date: February 1st, 2003

By Daniel Perry The just-finished political campaign was a missed opportunity by candidates from both political parties to talk about how to truly improve health in America. Now that Election Day is behind us, let's hope our elected officials can move past the heated rhetoric and start to really make positive changes in the U.S. health care system. Political consultants this year advised candidates to turn the industry that researches and develops our medicines into a political punching bag. Of course, any

Respect Your Elders

Date: February 1st, 2003

We see them sometimes on the evening news-stories about another scam targeting the elderly or the discovery of an employee physically abusing residents of a long-term care facility. The images are sickening: seniors, often isolated from families and friends, are victimized by opportunistic strangers, caretakers, even family members. But how widespread are these problems, really? How vulnerable are older people to these types of abuse? Unfortunately, the problem is more widespread than we would like to believe, although the data are

Demand Better Training for Your Healthcare Provider!

Date: April 1st, 2002

Americans over the age of 65 represent over one-half of physician visits annually, yet only a small percent of healthcare professionals actually have specific training to appropriately care for this population. With the number of Americans over 65 expected to double within 30 years, our healthcare system is woefully unprepared to handle the inevitable surge of geriatric patients. This serious but overlooked problem is highlighted in Medical Never-Never Land: 10 Reasons Why America is Not Ready for the Coming Age Boom,

Where We Stand on Therapeutic Cloning--And Why

Date: April 1st, 2002

The Alliance for Aging Research believes all attempts to clone a human being are dangerous, unethical and wrong at this time. We believe just as strongly that, with appropriate guidelines, U.S. scientists should have the freedom to clone stem cells in laboratory dishes in an attempt to cure serious and life-threatening diseases. The Alliance supports legislation in Congress to make it a federal offense to try to copy people using cloning technology. But we strongly oppose some other anti-cloning measures which

Don't Let Medicare Squelch the Promise of New Medical Technology

Date: February 1st, 2001

When throat cancer forced a Pennsylvania physics professor to have his larynx removed, he thought his lecturing days were over. But a marvelous device called the UltraVoice voice synthesizer has allowed him to speak clearly and remain fully employed. In Brooklyn, New York, a breakthrough cardiovascular technology called intravascular radiation therapy is helping a woman resume her active life caring for two grandchildren. She had nearly given up hope after three angioplasties, two stents and open-heart surgery failed to keep her

Lost Opportunities on the Campaign Trail: Candidates Ignore Impending Senior Boom and its Dramatic Impact on Society

Date: October 1st, 2000

Something momentous is about to happen in this country. The largest generation in American history is poised to move into retirement, creating an unprecedented "senior boom." By 2030, there will be an estimated 70 million people over the age of 65, twice as many as there are today. This demographic shift will have a dramatic effect on our nation's economy and almost every social policy imaginable. Yet in this election year, the presidential candidates are squandering a golden opportunity to give

Championing Human Genome Research: We Need to Keep Urging for Increased Public Support for Research

Date: October 1st, 2000

With all the publicity surrounding the recent mapping of the human genome, it's hard to believe the project was ever less than wildly popular. However, like many other major scientific advances before it, this undertaking initially needed voices to speak out in its support. And from the beginning, the Alliance spoke. One of the first times the Alliance testified on Capitol Hill [in 1986] was before a committee urging Congress to support funding for expanding what was, at that time, a very

Will a Medicare Drug Benefit Help or Hurt?

Date: July 1st, 2000

Congress is trying to repair a 35-year-old shortcoming in the nation's most important health care program for seniors. If they succeed, people on Medicare will have help paying for prescription drugs. It may be the most important action that members of Congress take before they fold their tents and leave Washington this fall. But there are many ways to provide a Medicare drug benefit, and some may do more harm than good. Some of the proposals circling Capitol Hill come with

Prescription for Disaster

Date: May 1st, 2000

Limits On Newest And Best From The World Of Biomedicine By Robert M. Goldberg, Ph.D. Recently, I overheard a desperate young mother beg her pharmacist to call her doctor for a prescription for Diflucan for her ill daughter. Why was she begging? Because of her short-sighted health care plan. It wouldn't permit her doctor to use Diflucan, the best drug available for treating certain infections, until another, less expensive drug, was tried and failed. Left no choice, the anxious mother sought a

Lost Independence: A Costly Problem You Can Avoid

Date: October 1st, 1999

Imagine what it must be like to move to a nursing home. You spend your days in unfamiliar surroundings, removed from loved ones and dependent on strangers to tend to your most basic needs. Worse, losing the ability to live at home exacts a great personal financial price. The Alliance for Aging Research estimates that the total average cost of care for a person who remains independent during the year is $4,800. But should that person need to spend any

Fight for Your Independence

Date: October 1st, 1999

By Dan Perry Personal independence, the capacity to live where you wish, to do the things you want, with the people you want to be with; this is the essence of freedom that we all cherish. But with age, and with the rising risk of chronic diseases, these essential freedoms become even more precious. Functional independence can be lost so quickly. Suffer a crippling heart attack. Break a bone that won't heal. Lose the ability to see or hear clearly. Suddenly, taking

Stem Cells, Small in Size, Big in Hope

Date: May 1st, 1999

Imagine a world without debilitating costly diseases such as Parkinson's, heart disease and diabetes. It may be possible because of research into human embryonic stem cells. These tiny biological units pack a very big punch. They have unlimited potential to divide, retain the characteristics of "young" cells and become almost any tissue in the body. Recently, researchers announced they had successfully cultivated human embryonic stem cells. Conceivably, they could "direct" them to replace diseased cells and offset the medical and financial