Monday, March 31, 2008

Need More Affordable Versions of Biologic Multiple Sclerosis Therapies? Share Your Story.

New videos comment on need for follow-on biologics and the creation of an FDA pathway to review and approve those therapies.

Click here to see a video from biotechnology company scientist who calls on Congress to act now. He asks for access to safe, affordable, follow-on biologics, or biogeneric medicines, to treat diseases like MS.

Click here to see a video from Under Secretary of Commerce Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, who identifies potential cost savings of approximately $378 billion over the next 20 years from making follow-on biologics available in the United States.

Tell your story about why Congress needs to act in the interest of patients, savings, and competition. To learn more about what's going on and what you can do, visit

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Congressman Burgess Recognizes Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week 2008

On March 11, Congressman Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX) recognized MS Awareness Week 2008 with a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Congressman currently serves as co-chair of the Congressional MS Caucus in the House.

Click here to watch the video of Rep. Burgess' 1-minute floor speech

Text of Congressman Burgess' floor speech
Mr. Speaker, this week, March 10-17, is National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. The goal of this annual event is to raise awareness of this disease for those individuals and their families who are impacted by it.

Every hour in the United States, someone new is diagnosed with MS. It is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. Many Americans know a person living with multiple sclerosis, a mother or father, a son or daughter, another family member or friend, or even a colleague.

For me, it was a member of my staff. This brave and strong woman inspired me to get more involved in the battle to live in a world free of multiple sclerosis. As a medical doctor prior to coming to Congress, I'm working here to find sensible solutions for the health care challenges that Americans face. As the co-chair of the newly formed Congressional Multiple Sclerosis Caucus, I intend to bring the needs of those individuals into the larger discussion of quality health care.

Mr. Speaker, we must work together to improve access to quality health services, to break down barriers, and to make MS therapies more affordable. I ask other Members of the House to join me in this noble cause. We must always remember that behind every statistic is the face of a family member or friend. We have a shared responsibility to offer help and hope. There is no better time than now to begin offering it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Congressman Russ Carnahan Participates in Chapter Luncheon

Congressman Russ Carnahan (MO) participated in a luncheon recently with the Society's Gateway Area Chapter in St. Louis. In this photo, he speaks with local doctors.

The Chapter and National Clinical Advisory Committee Chair Dr. Barbara Green received a Congressional Proclamation from Carnahan. Shown below.

Monday, March 17, 2008

20 Senators have Signed on to Support Multiple Sclerosis Research Funding

Senators are signing on to a letter requesting that $15 million be provided for multiple sclerosis research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). This Dear Colleague letter was circulated in the Senate by Senators Sherrod Brown (OH) and Jim Bunning (KY).

If your Senator is not the list, click here to send a reminder.

Dear Colleague Signers as of April 2, 2008
  • Daniel Akaka (HI)
  • Jeff Bingaman (NM)
  • Barbara Boxer (CA)
  • Sherrod Brown (OH)
  • Jim Bunning (KY)
  • Robert Casey (PA)
  • Richard Durbin (IL)
  • Edward Kennedy (MA)
  • John Kerry (MA)
  • Amy Klobuchar (MN)
  • Frank Lautenberg (NJ)
  • Jack Reed (RI)
  • Bernard Sanders (VT)
  • Chuck Schumer (NY)
  • Olympia Snowe (ME)
  • Arlen Specter (PA)
  • Debbie Stabenow (MI)
  • John Warner (VA)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
  • Ron Wyden (OR)

Ask Your U.S. Senator to Support $15 Million for MS Research

More than 60 members of the House of Representatives signed on in support of an increased investment of $15 million for multiple sclerosis research. Thank you. We can keep this effort moving forward. Now it needs support in the Senate.

Take Action Today

  • Call your Senator's Washington, D.C. or district office to talk about this issue. Call the Capitol switchboard at 1-800-828-0498 to be connected.
  • Make an appointment to visit with your Senator or their staff in the district during the March 17-28 recess.
  • Attend a community or town hall meeting. Call the district office for a schedule.
For your Senator's contact information, visit

You can use these talking points and background when you speak with your Senator:
  • A Dear Colleague letter is being circulated in the House by Senators Sherrod Brown and Jim Bunning. The letter requests that $15 million be provided for multiple sclerosis research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.
  • Please have Senator ____ sign on the letter by contacting Senator Brown or Bunning. As a constituent and an MS activist, I encourage your support of this investment in MS research.
  • [Share how MS has impacted you personally]
  • Many U.S. veterans have stories and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Preliminary evidence suggests that Gulf War veterans could have an increased risk.
  • A study found an unexpected, doubling of MS between 1993 and 2000 in Kuwait, which suggests a potential environmental trigger for MS because of exposure to neurotoxins such as burning oil fields and poison gases.
  • More than 25,000 veterans being treated in the VHA are living with a diagnosis of MS. A recent study in the Annals of Neurology identified more than 5,000 cases of MS among U.S. veterans that were deemed "service-connected."
  • MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system and is generally diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, the prime of life. The cause of MS is still unknown, the symptoms are unpredictable, and there is no cure.

Now is the time to pursue MS research in the CDMRP for fiscal year 2009. This program is funded annually through the Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations bill. Last year, your efforts influenced Congress to include MS and for the first time it became one of the areas eligible to compete for research funds through this program. We can build on this success and secure specific funding for MS research. This research would not only benefit our veterans, but would help move us closer to a world free of MS. Click here for more information on the federal grant money newly available for MS researchers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

63 House Members Sign On to Support Multiple Sclerosis Research

63 members of the House of Representatives signed on to a letter requesting that $15 million be provided for multiple sclerosis research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). This Dear Colleague letter was circulated in the House by Congressmen Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX).

This is tremendous support that resulted from your email messages and from the attention brought by the veterans and experts who shared their stories at the recent Congressional briefing.

If your representative is on the list, thank them for their support. Call 1-800-828-0498 to be connected.

Dear Colleague Signers as of March 17, 2008
  • Tammy Baldwin, (WI-2)
  • Howard Berman, (CA-28)
  • Leonard Boswell, (IA-3)
  • Nancy Boyda, (KS-2)
  • Michael Burgess, (TX-26)
  • Lois Capps, (CA-23)
  • Russ Carnahan, (MO-3)
  • Christopher Carney, (PA-10)
  • Susan Davis, (CA-53)
  • Bill Delahunt, (MA-10)
  • Vernon Ehlers, (MI-3)
  • Keith Ellison, (MN-5)
  • Philip English, (PA-3)
  • Bob Filner, (CA-51)
  • Vito Fossella, (NY-13)
  • Barney Frank, (MA-4)
  • Virgil Goode Jr., (VA-5)
  • Bart Gordon, (TN-6)
  • Ruben Hinojosa, (TX-15)
  • Tim Holden, (PA-17)
  • Hank Johnson, (GA-4)
  • Patrick Kennedy, (RI-1)
  • Peter King, (NY-3)
  • Dennis Kucinich, (OH-10)
  • James Langevin, (RI-2)
  • Sander Levin, (MI-12)
  • John Lewis, (GA-5)
  • Frank LoBiondo, (NJ-2)
  • Edward Markey, (MA-7)
  • Jim Marshall, (GA-8)
  • Carolyn McCarthy, (NY-4)
  • Jim McDermott, (WA-7)
  • Brad Miller, (NC-13)
  • Harry Mitchell, (AZ-5)
  • Dennis Moore, (KS-3)
  • Tim Murphy, (PA-18)
  • Bill Pascrell Jr., (NJ-8)
  • Ron Paul, (TX-14)
  • Collin Peterson, (MN-7)
  • Nick Rahall II, (WV-3)
  • Todd Russell Platts, (PA-19)
  • Rick Renzi, (AZ-1)
  • Tom Reynolds, (NY-26)
  • Peter Roskam, (IL-6)
  • Bobby Rush, (IL-1)
  • Linda Sanchez, (CA-39)
  • Janice Schakowsky, (IL-9)
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (FL-20)
  • Allyson Schwartz, (PA-13)
  • David Scott, (GA-13)
  • Pete Sessions, (TX-32)
  • Christopher Shays, (CT-4)
  • Louise McIntosh Slaughter, (NY-28)
  • Vic Snyder, (AR-2)
  • John Tierney, (MA-6)
  • Edolphus Towns, (NY-10)
  • Fred Upton, (MI-6)
  • Henry Waxman, (CA-30)
  • Peter Welch, (VT-At Large)
  • Robert Wexler, (FL-19)
  • Robert Wittman, (VA-1)
  • David Wu, (OR-1)
  • John Yarmuth, (KY-3)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

MS Activist Talks with President Bill Clinton

MS activist Madison Timmons met former President Bill Clinton before a recent event in Amarillo. Madison was able to get a few minutes of face time to discuss the President's views on stem cell research and respite care. Madison is with the Lone Star Chapter.

Monday, March 3, 2008

DePaul University study of costs and benefits of employing people with disabilities finds few risks to employers

Press Release: Groundbreaking study commissioned by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce contradicts common misperceptions among employers
A study conducted by a team of researchers at DePaul University found that employees with disabilities from the healthcare, retail and hospitality sectors in the region were just as dependable and productive as employees without disabilities. In addition, accommodation costs associated with workers with disabilities were often minimal and well worth the expense. First envisioned during Mayor Daley’s Task Force on Employment of People with Disabilities between 2002 and 2005, this study was commissioned by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s disabilityworks initiative, and made possible through a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. A subsequent financial contribution was made by the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

“We’ve learned that employees with disabilities are working in senior level positions, are pharmacists, nurses, managers of retail stores and work at all levels of jobs just like nondisabled workers. In the not so distant future, it will be increasingly important to recruit talent from this community as the workforce continues to evolve," said disabilityworks Executive Director Karen McCulloh.

Over the course of the three-year study, researchers worked with 25 businesses in the Chicago region that were involved as advisors, focus group participants, and sites for the collection of the cost-benefit data. To view the complete research results, visit