Petition to Secretary of Health and Human Services, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, President of the United States
Protest High Cancer Drug Prices so all Patients with Cancer have Access to Affordable Drugs to Save their Lives
A. Background• Cancer drug prices are increasing at an alarming rate (1), which is causing harm to patients. • Prices have increased more than tenfold (2) between 2000 (average price $5,000-$10,000 per year) and today (average price of new cancer drugs exceeds $120,000 per year). • The average price of cancer drugs is increasing by about $8,500 (3,4) a year. The average household income today for a family of four is $52,000, down 8% from a decade ago (5). • Even patients with insurance have out-of-pocket expenses of 20-25% (6). Since each American has a 1 of 3 lifetime chance of developing cancer, every one of us is at risk of being unable to pay for the prescription medicines that will control and cure our cancer.• This could force many families to decide whether to pay $25,000 a year for one cancer drug, about half the household income, or forgo the treatment to save the money for other necessities. • The high price of cancer drugs is causing harm (7) by shortening the lives of patients who cannot afford the treatment. This is an injustice (8) that creates differential treatment conditioned by financial status. B. PetitionWe request that our President, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and all Members of the United States Congress, consider our petition and protest against high cancer drug prices by implementing the following strategies: 1) Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices by removing all current legal restrictions. Allow Medicare to have the same right to negotiate drug prices as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs now enjoys; 2) Allow the importation of cancer drugs across U.S. borders, for personal use. Prices in Canada are sometimes close to fifty percent less than what we pay for the exact same cancer drugs in the United States; 3) Enact and sign into law, new federal legislation that prevents drug companies from delaying access to generic drugs (“Pay-for-Delay”) and extending the life of drug patents (Patent “Evergreening”); 4) Create a post FDA drug approval mechanism/organization/group/ concerned parties (that include the strong voice of patients and their advocates) to estimate/propose a fair price for the new treatment, based on its value to patients and health care; 5) Allow organizations such as the PCORI – the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (nonprofit, nongovernmental organization located in Washington, DC. created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) to include drug prices in their assessments of the value of drugs and treatments; 6) Request nonprofit organizations that represent cancer specialists and their patients - such as ASCO, ASH, ACS, LLS, and NCCN - develop guidelines to incorporate prices of drugs relative to treatment value. C. Conclusion• In the United States, all cancer patients must have immediate access to affordable prescription drugs in order to save their lives. • We believe the measures as outlined above, will allow market forces to work in favor of lower cancer drug prices. This will provide all cancer patients with equal access to the best treatments now available. • We believe the measures as outlined above, will be fair to both the cancer patient and to pharmaceutical companies. • This is Justice. References 1. Kantarjian H, Rajkumar SV. Why Are Cancer Drugs So Expensive in the United States, and What Are the Solutions? Mayo Clin Proc. In Press 2/2015. 2. Kantarjian H, Steensma D, Rius SJ, Elshaug A, Light D. High Cancer Drug Prices in the United States: Reasons and Proposed Solutions. J Oncol Pract. 2014; 10(4): 208-211. 3. Howard D, Bach P, Berndt E, Conti R. Pricing in the Market for Anticancer Drugs. Journal of Economic Perspectives. 2015; 29(1): 139-162. 4. Silverman E. High Prices for Cancer Drugs are set at Launch: “It’s Where the Action Is”. Wall Street Journal Pharmalot. January 21, 2015. Accessed online February 16, 2015. http://blogs.wsj.com/pharmalot/2015/01/21/high-prices-for-cancer-drugs-are-set-at-launch-its-where-the-action-is/ 5. Household Income in the United States. Wikipedia. Accessed online February 26, 2015: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States 6. Gould E. Increased Health Care Cost Sharing Works as Intended. It Burdens Patients Who Need Care the Most. Accessed online January 15, 2015: http://www.epi.org/publication/bp358-increased-health-care-cost-sharing-works/ 7. Kantarjian H. 119 Collaborator Experts in CML. The price of drugs for chronic myeloid (CML) is a reflection of the unsustainable prices of cancer drugs: from the perspective of a large group of CML experts. Blood. 2013; 12(22): 4439-4442. 8. Kantarjian H. Relevance of the Hippocratic Oath in the 21st Century. The ASCO Post. October 2014; 5(16). Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. This image is for illustration purposes only, and a simulation of cancer medications and their high cost.
Petition to UN Women
Justice for Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz
On July 6, in El Salvador, 19-year old rape victim Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder after having a stillbirth. Hernandez, who at the time was 18, was in her third trimester, but hadn’t realized that she was pregnant. She had been repeatedly raped by a gang member over several months as part of a forced sexual relationship. It is unconscionable that a teenager who was raped should be imprisoned for the stillbirth of the fetus of her abuser. Women who experience complications during pregnancy should be supported and given proper medical care, not prison sentences. An interrupted pregnancy is not murder. Women deserve the right to complete autonomy and control over their bodies and reproductive ability. Cruz is not the first woman in El Salvador to be imprisoned for complications arising from pregnancy. Civil rights groups say 17 women in El Salvador have been wrongfully imprisoned for miscarriages. Countless more have been jailed for having abortions. In El Salvador, abortions are illegal under any circumstance, and miscarriages and stillbirths are treated as crimes. Women who are already lacking resources for reproductive health are treated like criminals when they seek medical assistance.The imprisonment of Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz, and other women in El Salvador who have been charged with murder for pregnancy complications, sends a chilling message to all women about how our human rights and dignity are viewed as less valuable than our ability to give birth. Women do not exist to bear children for men. We are complete humans worthy of respect. The value of our lives is not dependent on our reproductive functions. We request the UN Council for Women take direct action to place pressure on the government of El Salvador to overturn this unjust verdict. We also demand that the government end the cruel practice of imprisoning women for miscarriage, stillbirths, or abortion. We ask that the UN Council for Women take steps into addressing the draconian abortion laws enforced by the government of El Salvador, which does not allow abortion even in cases which threaten a woman's life. We demand freedom and justice for Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz.
Petition to U.S. State Legislators
No Tax On Tampons: Stop Taxing Our Periods! Period.
Aunt Flo is one helluva house guest. She can be painful, messy, and just keeps coming back each month. And, oh yeah, expensive! As anyone who menstruates knows, dealing with a period is a monthly necessity—and a costly one at that. Women spend upwards of $70 a year on sanitary products like tampons and pads. What’s worse, across the U.S., a whopping forty states increase the financial burden of menstruation by charging sales tax on these essential items. Not taxed: a bag of chips. Taxed: a box of tampons. WHAT?! Check out the above map to see if your state is one of the forty that taxes your purchase of tampons, pads, and menstrual cups. For anyone who has a period, these items are a necessity—not an option, not a luxury item—and should be treated as such. Eliminating the Tampon Tax is simply the FAIR and EQUAL thing to do. Change is possible! This summer, Canada made history when its Parliament voted unanimously to eliminate a national tax on menstrual products. Across the pond and down under, women in the U.K. and Australia are insisting their governments do the same. A global movement is underway! Sign this petition, share it with your friends—and let the forty state legislatures that profit from your period know that you won’t stand for it. Join Cosmopolitan in the national movement to Axe the Tampon Tax! #TamponsForAll
Petition to Janis Ringhand, Debra Kolste
Fix Broken Family Law System here in Wisconsin and across the United States
This past year, I personally experienced grief, pain and loss on so many levels at the hands of the existing dysfunctional family law system here in the state of Wisconsin. Lack of awareness and education on the part of legal personnel is at the root of this dysfunction, and ignorance regarding this problem is nationwide. I am grateful that I have the time and resources to fight the good fight not only for myself, but for every other mother or father that has suffered abuse, neglect, pain and suffering at the hands of narcissistic individuals. Their perception is not our reality! Individual family matters can be very complex in nature and, like an onion, have many layers to it...
Petition to To the El Salvador Legislature
Free Salvadoran woman Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, imprisoned for miscarriage
Amnesty International Group 11 in New York City calls for justice for Teodora del Carmen Vásquez. Teodora has spent the last ten years in jail after being accused of having had an abortion and ultimately being convicted of ‘aggravated homicide’. On Wed, Dec. 13, 2017 the same judges who sent her to prison will review her case and decide her fate. She could be released, but could also remain in prison to complete her sentence. [UPDATE, 12/9/17: Prosecution requests 5 day delay in case of Salvadoran woman jailed after a miscarriage.] We are asking you to sign this petition, which will be used in a campaign urging El Salvador to free Teodora and to change its draconian abortion laws. This campaign is fast garnering world-wide attention through I Am Listening internet radio and the Twitter #IAmListening hashtag. Please sign this petition by Tue, Dec 12, 2017. Background In 2007, 9-month pregnant Teodora suffered a stillbirth after the rapid onset of serious pain while she was at work. She called 911, but help did not turn up on time. Instead, several police officers arrived, handcuffed her and arrested her on suspicion of ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s ban on abortions. She was presumed guilty of ‘abortion’ rather than the victim of pregnancy complications. Under Salvadoran law all citizens must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, Teodora’s trial was flawed and lacking in due process. Her sentence was based on inconclusive evidence and she faced discrimination of authorities. Being from a poor family, she could not afford an effective legal team to represent her. This is often the case for poor, rural women like Teodora who suffer pregnancy-related complications in El Salvador. They are immediately assumed guilty and sentenced to prison to up to 40 years—the maximum jail terms for this type of crime. Teodora is one of many women in El Salvador convicted of ‘aggravated homicide’ for simply miscarrying and losing their own pregnancies. To help these women it is urgent to overturn the total abortion ban in El Salvador that violates womens' and girls' rights to life, health, and freedom from discrimination and from torture and ill-treatment. International law requires that abortion be decriminalized in all circumstances and that women and girls are guaranteed access to safe and legal abortion both in law and in practice, at a minimum, in cases where pregnancy poses a risk to the life or the physical or mental health of a pregnant woman or girl, where there is severe and fatal impairment of the fetus, or where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The total abortion ban also has devastating effects on the children and family of women jailed under this law, who are often unable to see their mothers or relatives for months because they don’t have updated identification papers or they live far from the prison and don’t have the money to pay for transportation and other costs related to the visit. Moreover, families are also placed in dire financial situations when they are compelled to provide for and look after the children of incarcerated women. Teodora has already spent almost ten years in jail. The coming review of her case is an opportunity to change the course of her life and correct the miscarriage of justice. Amnesty International has launched a Twitter campaign #IAmListening and AIUSA Group 11 has set up this online petition urging the El Salvadoran government to guarantee due process in Teodora’s judicial proceedings and ensure she receives the justice she was earlier denied in order for her to achieve her freedom.
Petition to Mary Fallin, Lee Denney, Jeffrey Hickman
Hear Oklahoma House Bill 1362
We are a group of mothers, fathers, students, and concerned citizens in Oklahoma. We urgently need your help to make sure that a crucial bill to help stop the rape and victimization of young girls in our state is heard in the Oklahoma State House. HB 1362 is a vital bill that will ensure that victims have support, that school officials are trained to handle these situations, and that our students are effectively taught about consent and proper boundaries. It is essential that this bill is passed, not just for the safety of Oklahoma’s students, but also as a signal to the rest of the country that this type of legislation is needed to protect all of our young people. House Bill 1362 successfully made it out of the Common Education Committee on Tuesday, February 24th -- but now the real fight begins. The next step is a vote on the house floor, and if the bill is voted down it will be two more years before this essential legislation can be reintroduced. Last fall, we organized the group Yes All Daughters after three teenage girls in our hometown of Norman, OK were raped by the same classmate and then bullied out of school after they reported their assaults.We organized a peaceful protest and the school district responded by creating a task force to address issues related to victimization and bullying. The perpetrator was arrested following our protest and is currently awaiting trial on First Degree Rape charges. HB 1362 was introduced as a direct result of the assaults on these three girls, and our work to bring their stories to light. But the work is not done. There is no guarantee that the Oklahoma State House will pass this legislation, even though the rape and sexual assault of minors is still an enormous problem in Oklahoma. Last week, in the town just over from Norman, four more students (all aged 18 and 19) were arrested for the alleged gang rape of a girl under the age of 16. We cannot continue to let this problem go unchecked in our state. Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault, yet this bill was not on the agenda until our last-ditch effort compelled legislators to read it in committee. We must demand that House Bill 1362 become a priority among the Oklahoma State Legislators. Sign the petition. Stand with us against sexual violence. No more silence. No more shame.
Petition to Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
Keep the Sacramento County partnership going with Saint John's Program for Real Change.
Please ask the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to continue its 15-year partnership with Saint John's Program for Real Change. The most recent homeless count released in July 2017 found 3,665 people living without permanent shelter in Sacramento County and 2,000 of those people living outside. The total number of homeless was the highest number the county has ever recorded. Yet, homeless women and children are most often invisible, go unaccounted for and yet are the most vulnerable. Saint John's Program for Real Change believes that homelessness is a symptom of a variety of multiple and complex issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, emotional and mental health challenges and multi-generational poverty. Saint John’s believes in unleashing the human potential of women and children. The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates it costs taxpayers $50,000-$150,0000 to support a homeless person in the system; Sutter Health estimates it costs county taxpayers $49,000 to support a homeless individual in the system. Saint John’s spends an average of $14,000 annually to support an individual moving from homelessness to independence. By moving people up and out of the system, Saint John’s approach makes room for more people to be served while saving Sacramento County taxpayers millions of dollars. There is no one-size-fits-all approach; just as there are multiple pathways which lead to homelessness, multiple pathways must be employed to support those attempting to exit homelessness. Thank you for your support!
Petition to United States Department of Health and Human Services, FDA
Help stop the pain that women are unnecessarily forced to endure
Women all over the word are forced to endure excruciating pain during cervical biopsies, because the medical world still feels that as women we "should be able to handle the pain." Help us change this. Tell medical providers that it is not okay for women to have cervical biopsies preformed without, at the very least, a topical anesthetic provided and automatically be considered part of the procedure(s). Causing such pain decreases the likelihood of some women going back for follow-ups, increasing their chance of complication and possibly death due to lack of cervical treatment.