August 9, 2019

Is Your Medicine Gluten Free?

How can you be sure?

by Chris Thomas

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash (these are probably Smarties™)

American politics so grim and awful these days that it’s easy to forget that there are still fairly non-controversial bills bouncing around Congress with a reasonable chance of passing. HR 2074 — the “Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2019” — is one such bill. It would require drug companies to disclose if a medication contains gluten.

Now, the phrase “gluten free” might conjure images of insufferable hipsters eating kale and sipping wheatgrass smoothies (which is, weirdly, gluten free) but disclosure isn’t really about people who are gluten free by choice. It’s about the ~1% of Americans who have celiac disease.

Celiac is an inherited medical condition that makes the immune system respond to the gluten protein like a pathogen. When that happens, the body tries to kill cells that are “infected” by it… including the cells in the intestinal tract that absorbed it.

Celiac disease is miserable and, without a gluten free diet, it can be fatal.

HR 2074 goes a long way towards helping celiac patients live a normal life. With clear disclosure, they can keep gluten out of their medical diet, which will boost drug effectiveness, improve medical outcomes, and drive down long term costs for everyone.

And it’s not often we get a win, win, win in Congress.

HR 2074 is currently in the House of Representatives in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. With 29 co-sponsors (including two Republicans) it has good odds of making it to the President’s desk if the votes get scheduled.

What can I do?

You can write to Congress, especially if your Representative happens to be on Energy and Commerce. If your Representative isn’t on Energy and Commerce they can still sign on as a co-sponsor and/or pledge their support for the bill when it gets out of committee.

To write to your Representatives and Senators, send the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to help a celiac. 🌾💊🤢

Energy and Commerce Committee

Democrats

  1. Frank Pallone, Jr., NJ (Chair)
  2. Bobby L. Rush, IL
  3. Anna G. Eshoo, CA
  4. Eliot L. Engel, NY
  5. Diana DeGette, CO
  6. Michael F. Doyle, PA
  7. Janice D. Schakowsky, IL
  8. G. K. Butterfield, NC
  9. Doris O. Matsui, CA
  10. Kathy Castor, FL
  11. John P. Sarbanes, MD
  12. Jerry McNerney, CA
  13. Peter Welch, VT
  14. Ben Ray Luján, NM
  15. Paul Tonko, NY
  16. Yvette D. Clarke, NY (Vice-Chair)
  17. David Loebsack, IA
  18. Kurt Schrader, OR
  19. Joseph P. Kennedy III, MA
  20. Tony Cárdenas, CA
  21. Raul Ruiz, CA
  22. Scott H. Peters, CA
  23. Debbie Dingell, MI
  24. Marc A. Veasey, TX
  25. Ann M. Kuster, NH
  26. Robin L. Kelly, IL
  27. Nanette Diaz Barragán, CA
  28. A. Donald McEachin, VA
  29. Lisa Blunt Rochester, DE
  30. Darren Soto, FL
  31. Tom O’Halleran, AZ

Republicans

  1. Greg Walden, OR
  2. Fred Upton, MI
  3. John Shimkus, IL
  4. Michael C. Burgess, TX
  5. Steve Scalise, LA
  6. Robert E. Latta, OH
  7. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, WA
  8. Brett Guthrie, KY
  9. Pete Olson, TX
  10. David B. McKinley, WV
  11. Adam Kinzinger, IL
  12. H. Morgan Griffith, VA
  13. Gus M. Bilirakis, FL
  14. Bill Johnson, OH
  15. Billy Long, MO
  16. Larry Bucshon, IN
  17. Bill Flores, TX
  18. Susan W. Brooks, IN
  19. Markwayne Mullin, OK
  20. Richard Hudson, NC
  21. Tim Walberg, MI
  22. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, GA
  23. Jeff Duncan, SC
  24. Greg Gianforte, MT
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