We asked Judy Nagy, an advocate from Ohio, to share with the CreakyJoints community her experience advocating as a member of our 50-State Network. Here is what she had to say:
It was a privilege and honor to represent the Global Healthy Living Foundation/ CreakyJoints 50-State Network in support of Ohio House Bill 505, regarding the regulation of biosimilar medications.
Having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis more than 35 years ago, and given the experience I have had over the years with tests, treatments, and medications, it is natural for me to advocate for patients like myself that are living and dealing with autoimmune diseases.
When you are familiar and passionate about a chronic illness that personally affects you, it’s easy to be the voice that represents the thousands and millions of people that will benefit from your efforts at the state and national levels of government.
The passage of Ohio House Bill helps pave the way for biosimilar medications which can make biologic medications available to more people at reduced cost. Biologic injections and infusions have changed the world for people with debilitating and deadly diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, MS and diabetes. Even with insurance paying a large portion of the cost, many medications are very costly, and biologic therapies are among the most expensive. (Editor’s note: If you are having trouble affording your medication visit this resource)
Without laws in place to require communication to occur between my pharmacist, physician and me, my medication could be substituted without my knowledge, or worse, without my doctor’s knowledge. Our health and safety depends on the trust and transparency between me, the patient, my physician, pharmacist, and the technician administering the medication. And it is for this reason that it is important that patients get notified if their biologic drug gets switched to a biosimilar.
I have chosen to be an advocate because I have witnessed what research, education, and new medications can do to improve the quality of life for those in need. By sponsoring legislation, legislators are usually seeking a solution to a real or perceived problem. By telling our personal stories about living with arthritis, we can help ensure that elected officials make wise decisions about legislation that makes medications and treatments accessible, and to make government funding available for far more arthritis research.
While the process of passing legislation can seem slow, it’s hard not to feel excited knowing that you are helping so many just by sharing your story. It is rewarding to meet and get to know the people with the 50-State Network who are great at walking you through the process of preparation, others that are giving testimony, the legislators and their aides, and often physicians, pharmacists and medical students who are interested in the legislation as well. And what a wonderful feeling to walk through the hallowed halls of your state and national government buildings, and sit in chambers where house and senate committees meet where you can experience the aura of hundreds of years of history, and a pride in knowing that you are taking part in making history! The reward? Well, the reward is celebrating the passage of the legislation that will help hundreds of thousands of people just like you!
Thank you Judy for your hard work!