We, the undersigned citizens of the United States, hereby petition the Honorable Senators Tom Harkin, Michael Enzi, Bernard Sanders, and Rand Paul; and the Honorable Representatives Fred Upton, Henry Waxman, Joe Pitts, and Frank Pallone, Jr. –
1) To recognize the following findings of fact regarding migraine and other headache disorders:
- Chronic headache disorders, including migraine and cluster headache, are among the top 20 causes of disability in the US according to the World Health Organization (WHO)
- 19% of Americans will experience an attack of some form of migraine this year.
- 75% of Americans with episodic migraine are women, predominantly of child-bearing age.
- 4% of Americans experience 4 hours of headaches per day, at least 15 days per month.
- Among veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, 37% of servicemen and 57% of servicewomen reported ongoing migraine if there was a deployment history of concussive injury and any predeployment history of migraine.
- Migraine results in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease which has been linked to more than 1500 additional deaths in the US annually.
- Headache disorders, including migraine, are responsible for more than $31B in economic costs in the US annually.
- The WHO estimates that migraine causes more lost years of healthy life in the US annually than multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ovarian cancer, and tuberculosis combined...,
- ...whereas in 2010 the combined NIH research funding on these four disorders ($684M) was more than 45 times greater than that for migraine ($15M).
- NIH funding for all research on headache disorders comprised less than 0.05% of the NIH budget in 2010.
- Only one innovative drug (sumatriptan), discovered, developed, and priority reviewed specifically for migraine treatment, has been FDA approved in the past 50 years.
- A total of only 290 American physicians have received Headache Medicine specialty training and are certified by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties.
- The US Congress has never held a public hearing devoted to headache disorders.
2) To hold public hearings in Washington, DC, before the Primary Health and Aging Subcommittee of the Senate HELP Committee and/or before the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, prior to the close of the 112th Congress to:
- further the appreciation among the public and within the federal government of the enormous social, economic, and personal burdens imposed by headache disorders.
- explore the roles of the federal government through the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of the Defense, as well as the role of private sector commerce, in promoting research into the causes of, and treatments for, headache disorders.
- understand and suggest remedies for the significant barriers that exist for Americans with headache disorders to obtaining effective treatments as well as adequate access to health care providers with specialty training and expertise in the care for headache disorders.