Senatorial responses

August 31, 2006 at 7:39 am (Allergy News!, social issues)

I took up Laura’s challenge to contact our Senators about the National Anaphylaxis Prevention Bill.  The following are the responses I received:

Dear Ms. Harmon:

Thank you for your letter in support of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act of 2005.  I am sorry to learn that your son is allergic to peanuts.  I appreciate how this greatly complicates life.

        Food allergy is a growing public health and food safety concern in the United States. Twelve million Americans -including 3 million children-suffer from food allergies, and the incidence is increasing.  Because there is no cure, avoidance of the allergen is the only way to prevent reactions.

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act of 2005 would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a policy for managing the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools.  This bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on October17, 2005, and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Ways and Means.  No similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

        I have long supported strong funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The NIH is the principal biomedical research agency of the federal government and seeks to improve the health of the American people by increasing the understanding of processes underlying human health, disability, and disease.  As part of the NIH, the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Disease conducts studies on the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of allergies.

        The Senate Committee on Appropriations reported the fiscal year 2007 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill on July 20.  The committee has recommended $28.5 billion to fund biomedical research at the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the NIH.  This represents an increase of $220 million over the fiscal year 2006 level and $200 million over the President’s budget request.  Of that amount, $4.4 billion has been recommended for the NIAID.
NIAID has been collaborating with private sector organizations to improve the diagnosis and treatment of anaphylaxis.  A recent report emphasized the need for expanded research related to anaphylaxis and highlighted a number of areas requiring additional research.  The Senate Committee on Appropriations has included language in the fiscal year 2007 appropriations bill urging the NIAID to take steps to address these issues and report these efforts to the Committee by May 1, 2007.

The Senate Committee on appropriations has also included language in the appropriations bill encouraging the Centers for Disease Control to create a National Information Center on Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis that will provide guidance to the public and health care professionals about how to avoid products with allergy-causing ingredients and how to respond to potentially life-threatening reactions to food allergens.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.  I will have your interest in mind as related legislation comes before the Senate.  I wish the best to your son and whole family.

Sincerely,

Richard G. Lugar

United States Senator

RGL/grg

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Dear Mrs. Harmon:

My name is Joshua Sargen and I am a staffer in Sen. Evan Bayh‘s Washington, DC office. I received an email you sent to our office regarding a National Anaphylaxis Prevention Bill. Please feel free to give me a call at 202-xxx-xxxx if you would like to further discuss your concerns. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Joshua Sargen

 Unfortunately Joshua did not have an email address that I could write him back at, and I haven’t had the time to call just yet–but I’m planning on it.  I didn’t think it was cool to post his number without knowing if that is a cell or an office or what, but email me if you are an Indiana resident and you want to call about this, and I will pass the # on.

 

cutelittlesamallergyshirt.jpg

My Sam at age twenty-two months, eating a nut-free snack.  He’d had peanut allergy for nine months at that time.

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