With our office based in Washington, DC, we have numerous opportunities to contribute to efforts aimed at policy-makers urging them to ensure better outcomes for melanoma patients and those at risk. Whether we are advocating for increased NIH funding, participating in meetings on Capitol Hill, or highlighting the need for prevention strategies and innovative new treatments, we are always working toward the day when no one suffers or dies from melanoma.
Here are some highlights from our latest policy initiatives:
- MRA is collaborating with the Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and other key stakeholders to engage the Surgeon General’s Office in a Melanoma Public Health strategy via a Call to Action. We are lending our expertise to establish a strong rationale for the many steps that need to be undertaken to defeat melanoma.
- MRA recently became a member of the Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition, whose mission is to work collaboratively with the FDA, Congress, the White House, health providers, consumer organizations and stakeholders to establish a regulatory pathway for timely pre-market review of new, safe and effective sunscreen ingredients. PASS has proposed legislation, which includes expedited review of the backlog of sunscreen applications and establishes a new process that allows future sunscreen applications to receive a decision within one year of submission. MRA participates in Hill meetings with the PASS Coalition, urging members of Congress to support this legislation.
- In May, the FDA released draft regulations that will require tanning beds and sunlamps to display stronger warning labels, including a recommendation that people under the age of 18 abstain from using these devices. The proposed reclassification moves tanning beds from Class 1 (low risk) to Class 2 (moderate risk) devices. While this is a great first step, MRA plans to continue working with the FDA and other stakeholders to restrict the use of these dangerous devices. MRA will submit comments to the FDA in the coming weeks applauding them for their efforts and encouraging the department to institute additional regulations that will completely restrict minors from the use and purchase of indoor tanning devices.
- MRA is working with the Melanoma Research Foundation to request $10 million for a melanoma research program administered by the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program in 2014. With hundreds of thousands of U.S. Army, National Guard, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine personnel having served in the Middle East over the past decade, where the intensity of sun exposure is great, there is a potential for heightened long-term risk of melanoma incidence and mortality in our military and veteran population. MRA met with Senators on Capitol Hill to seek support for this funding in the Senate Defense Appropriations bill.
Here at MRA, we continue to advocate for policy changes to accelerate progress in the melanoma field. We frequently work with senior policymakers at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, and Congress to offer constructive solutions and focus resources and attention on defeating melanoma.
We will keep you updated on any future developments surrounding these issues!