This Week – March 26, 2016

This Week in Washington, DC

  • ACG Joins Physicians on Capitol Hill; will be back advocating for GI practices
  • FDA Updates Instructions to Obtain Domperidone

DeMarco From ACG Governor for Southern Texas, Daniel C. DeMarco, MD, FACG

ACG Joins National Physicians Council for Healthcare Policy on Capitol Hill

On Tuesday, I attended the March 2016 National Physicians Council for Healthcare Policy meeting sponsored by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX).  I was invited by the Council’s leadership to represent gastroenterology.  The National Physicians Council is a group of physicians from across all specialties with the shared goal of taking back the practice of medicine.  Our goal is to work with congressional leaders like Rep. Pete Sessions (my congressman) to pass legislation that helps empower physician practices and frees us up from various legal, regulatory, and contractual restrictions.  ACG and the Council believe that to improve the quality of patient care we must also improve the ability of physician practices to treat our patients in a fair and pro-competitive working environment.


Daniel C. DeMarco, MD, FACG with Congressman Pete Sessions (R, TX-32)

Daniel C. DeMarco, MD, FACG with Congressman Pete Sessions (R, TX-32)

ACG will be back:

Throughout the month of March, ACG members have joined patient advocates on Capitol Hill.  In April, ACG physicians will again be back on Capitol Hill specifically advocating for issues important to GI practices.   Congress and CMS consistently need to hear more about the difficulty in maintaining a GI practice in this current environment of lower reimbursement but higher administrative burdens.  Thus, ACG needs your help:

  1. Is your practice faced with the unfortunate dilemma of potentially limiting Medicare patient volume due to the extraordinary burden of declining reimbursement compounding growing regulatory mandates?  Please reach out to your ACG Governor and share your experience and the challenges you face.  The ACG Board of Governors is one of the most unique aspects of the College, acting as a two-way conduit between the College leadership and the membership at-large. This helps the College make certain it is meeting the evolving needs of the membership.  Contact your ACG Governor today.

Remember to contact your ACG Governor on other important state and local issues impacting you and your practice.

  1. Have you signed ACG’s petition to reverse Medicare’s cuts to colonoscopy?  Sign it now.  Have your partners and patients sign it, too.  Congress needs to hear how short-sighted policies impact their constituents.

The College has been guided by a simple credoACG is committed to U.S. gastroenterologists being paid fairly and accurately for a highly skilled intervention which prevents colorectal cancer, reduces suffering, and saves both lives and money.

Cain From ACG FDA Related Matters Committee Chair and ACG Governor for Wisconsin, Tedd P. Cain, MD, FACG

FDA Updates Guidance: How to Request Domperidone for GI Disorders

ACG continues to work with the FDA in helping members obtain access to domperidone for patients.  As you know, domperidone is not currently a legally marketed human drug and it is not approved for sale in the U.S. On June 7, 2004, FDA issued a public warning that distributing any domperidone-containing products is illegal.  According to the FDA, the serious risks associated with domperidone include cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and sudden death. These risks are related to the blood level of domperidone, and higher levels in the blood are associated with higher risks of these events. Also, concurrent use of certain commonly used drugs, such as erythromycin, could raise blood levels of domperidone and further increase the risk of serious adverse cardiac outcomes.

However, patients 12 years of age and older with certain gastrointestinal (GI) conditions who have failed standard therapies can receive treatment with domperidone through an expanded access investigational new drug application (IND). These conditions include gastroesophageal reflux disease with upper GI symptoms, gastroparesis, and chronic constipation.

How to Get Domperidone for Gastrointestinal Disorders

This guidance updates the pharmacies by which ACG members can access domperidone.  However, the IND process is still required.  ACG continues to work on your behalf to streamline and improve this IND process.

Contact ACG or your ACG Governor if you or your practice is experiencing difficulty in accessing domperidone for patient.