A call to arms, and pens: The RCA insulin price write-a-thon

UPDATE: Read the letters to the editor from RCA members that have been published, from Anne Peticolas in the Austin Statesman and Cynthia Jankowski in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On Saturday, March 10, more than 20 members of the Right Care Alliance in 15 cities gathered in small groups in person and online, to draft and edit pieces about high drug prices for publication in local papers. 

Marlene Beggelman was the head coordinator of the event and, with help from RCA staff and other RC Boston members, kept the day running smoothly. 

The event started off with introductions and tips from veteran writers on how to craft a persuasive and effective piece. “The hardest thing about writing is getting started,” said Nancy Finn, Right Care Boston members and. For the first sentence, think about who you’re writing about, what you’re writing about, and why it’s important, she said.

And remember “KISS – Keep it simple, stupid!” said Nancy, “Eliminate all extraneous phrases, words, jargon, and pompous phrases.”

Participants used the collaborative approach that Marlene developed for the previous write-a-thon, in which participants team up to brainstorm potential and then write and provide feedback for each other in real time. 

Some of the topics members wrote about include:

  • Why insulin prices are a patient safety issue
  • The sacrifices families make when insulin costs are so high
  • How to help older adults navigate changes in drug prices
  • What’s not being addressed in Martin Shkreli’s sentencing
  • Challenging the rhetoric of value-based purchasing
  • Where does funding for patient organizations come from?
  • How doctors can become proactive about smarter prescribing

By the end of the day, we had 11 pieces written and several more in progress. The next step will be sending the pieces to editors and submitting to local publications. Look out for more news on these fantastic pieces on our blog!