Saturday, December 19, 2015

QVF Year in Review 2015

QVF had a busy and productive year in 2015.
In January, Executive Director Rachel Brummert and Assistant Director Donna Schutz were interviewed by Health Cosmos. QVF will be interviewed for a second interview in the coming weeks. 
In February, investigative reporter Jim Strickland and ABC2 in Atlanta, Georgia airs a story about the dangers of Levaquin. Featured are QVF Duluth, Georgia Ambassador Kathy Dannelly whose husband Chris died after taking Levaquin, as well as Quinolone Vigilance Foundation Assistant Director Donna Schutz and her fiancee Jeff Stephens, who is disabled after taking Levaquin: The station told us that the original story is the biggest story in the last two years for the station, and that it was viewed on social media over 5 million times. To date, it is the most shared news story about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. 

The following week, QVF Assistant Director Donna Schutz is featured in a radio show about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Progressive Medical Center is the only medical center in the country that specifically treats Fluoroquinolone Toxicity and we appreciate all they do.
On March 3 the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation honored WSB-TV Atlanta reporter Jim Strickland and his team from WSB-TV. Pictured are Producer Kellie Burkett, Jim Strickland and Photographer/Editor Leah Dunn who worked very hard on the Atlanta news stories which featured QVF Ambassador Kathy Dannelly, QVF Assistant Director Donna Schutz, and floxie Jeff Stephens. Kathy Dannelly began working with WSB-TV on the story June 2013. Reporter Jim Strickland began working with us in October 2014. The original news segment was filmed in December 2014. Kellie, Jim, and Leah did an excellent job and it was a pleasure working with them.


Also in March, QVF's Vice President Chris Butler set up and was interviewed for a news story: 
On March 13th, the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation held a fundraiser at the Grog and Tankard Sports Bar & Grill in Stafford, Virginia. Executive Director Rachel Brummert and QVF Ambassador Jonathan Furman were on hand to talk about our work and educate the patrons and we raised a lot of awareness. . We thank Dark Anubis Promotions, Chris Welborn, and the bands Helafyde, Echoes of Solitude, goddess Crow, Service of Shadows, and ZFL for playing the event. . 

March 27, QVF Executive Director Rachel Brummert testified at an FDA Hearing in Silver Spring, Maryland. Joining her were Lisa Bloomquist and QVF Ambassador Jonathan Furman. Rachel and Lisa testified in front of the FDA panel at the Supplemental Applications Proposing Labeling Changes for Approved Drugs and Biological Products Hearing. The FDA proposed a rule that would hold generic drug makers accountable for the damage their products cause and make them update their safety information. Due to the Pliva v Mensing Supreme Court decision, patients who are injured by generic medications cannot sue the drug maker, and generic drug makers are also not required to update safety information. The FDA was to make a decision in September 2015, and it was postponed to February 2016 and then to July 2016. (More on that later)


You can hear their testimony:
Rounding out March, QVF's Italy Ambassador Andrea Favero was featured in a newspaper article in Italy about fluoroquinolones.  

The same day as the QVF fundraiser in March, Executive Director Rachel Brummert and QVF Ambassador Jonathan Furman were interviewed in Fredricksburg, Virginia by WRIC-TV reporter Kerri O'Brien. It aired on April 23. The first video is the short version and the second video is the full version:

At the end of April, Rachel Brummert was interviewed by Dr. Joe Hudak and Dr. Chris Burfield for their podcast Journey to Wellness.

June 13, 2015- QVF Executive Director Rachel Brummert and Treasurer Christina Manthos-Sorrell met up for a lovely visit and to discuss future QVF projects 

Around mid-June, Rachel Brummert was approached by actor, author, and international speaker Rivedal and asked her to participate in the i'mPossible Project. Rachel is one of 50 authors who share their stories. The book will be released January 13.  Per Rachel's request with the publisher, 100% of the proceeds from her portion of the book will be donated to QVF. Her story in the book has already raised awareness; people who have reviewed the proof copy of the book and some of the other authors have contacted her about her story and how they have been affected too.

On June 16, Rachel Brummert met Bob Grozier's family- his sister and mother. They had a wonderful visit. For those who don't know, Bob Grozier passed away in June 2014, 12 years after he suffered adverse reactions to Cipro. With the Grozier's blessing, QVF produced a video about his life and death. Bob was a staunch advocate and he helped untold numbers of victims despite his own suffering. We miss him very much.


QVF also produced a video called the Real Cost of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics.


In July, QVF relocated to beautiful North Carolina from New Jersey. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of paperwork, but we have settled in nicely. Thank you for your patience while we were in transition.
In August, Wall Street Journal journalist interviewed Rachel Brummert and the article was published on August 3rd. Idelle did a fantastic job on the article and we thank her for her for her hard work.

Tulsa World
and picked up the story.

At the end of August, QVF produced a video called Shattered Lives: Destroyed by Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. It was widely shared and we raised a lot of awareness. Thank you to all who shared it and participated in it. 



We also got an update about the fluoroquinolone lawsuits that were filed by Baron & Budd law firm on behalf of clients who suffer with peripheral neuropathy. The cases were consolidated in Minnesota, which is good news. 
In September, Chris Butler joined our team and was elected to the Board of Directors in September 2015 and serves as Vice President. He works in Federal Employment Law, utilizing his skills in effective workplace communication, and problem resolution. Mr. Butler holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management from Friends University and an Associates Degree in Applied Science in Business. He retired from the United States Army in 2001 and has held many positions in his career including Instructor, Field Artillery Cannon Crew Chief, Survey Party Chief, leadership development training programs and Human Resources. He also currently serves as Ambassador for the Kansas City area. 
 Also in September, Steven Brill wrote a scathing 15 part series about Johnson & Johnson, “America's Most Admired Lawbreaker”. We are eternally grateful for his comprehensive coverage.

Unfortunately, we did get some disappointing news. QVF had been trying to work with a mayor and a governor to bring awareness about fluoroquinolone toxicity and to have it recognized on a local and state level. After submitting the necessary applications, paperwork, and documentation, and waiting several months for a response, we received responses and unfortunately they have both rejected our applications.
We did our best and we will continue to approach other officials. The mayor declined on the grounds of this being too "controversial". The governor did not specify a reason.We obviously hoped for a different outcome, but this will not deter us from trying again elsewhere. As we like to say here at QVF "If someone tells you no, you are asking the wrong person". This illustrates an important point of what we are up against. It is difficult to get doctors to listen and it is difficult to get the attention on fluoroquinolone toxicity that it deserves. We vow to keep trying and we will keep you updated on our progress.
In October, we spoke to Dr. Noble from the University of Rochester for an update on his research. Dr. Noble ran into a bit of an issue in regards to the preclinical phase of the research study. However, he has assured us that this issue is of little importance. The more important thing we can share is that he has identified a team that has a mouse model predisposed to certain factors in their health in order to better represent the spectrum of problems that have been caused by FQ exposure that will help him push forward in the study. This avenue looks very promising and we look forward to seeing where this goes. As always we appreciate his hard work.
On November 4, Executive director Rachel Brummert and author Josh Rivedal were interviewed about their upcoming book The i'Mpossible Project: Reengaging with Life, Creating a New You, due out January 13, 2016. Ms. Brummert was also interviewed about the FDA hearing at which she was testifying the following day.


Ms. Brummert and QVF Ambassador Jonathan Furman presented a plaque to reporter Kerri O'Brien for all of her coverage on fluoroquinolones since April. Ms. O'Brien has run several stories on fluoroquinolones and she also covered the FDA hearing which was happening the next day. Thank you to two very generous QVF staff who paid for Ms. O'Brien's plaque out of their own pockets.  

Rachel Brummert and Jonathan Furman joined 33 others, many of whom are victims of fluoroquinolones, and testified at the FDA at the Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee (ADMAC) and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. The panel discussed the risks/benefits of the systemic fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs for the treatment of sinus infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bronchitis. The panel reviewed evidence and listened to testimony from victims during the Open Public Hearing portion of the meeting. 
Thank you to everyone who traveled to Maryland to speak and those who came to support the speakers. Seeing everyone come together to call on the FDA to take action on fluoroquinolones was a wonderful experience.
To hear everyone's testimony, click here:

Ms Brummert wrote a guest blog about testifying at the FDA.

The twenty-one member FDA panel voted 21-0 for a label revision on sinusitis, 20-1 for UTIs, and 18-2 with one abstention for bronchitis.

We await a decision from the FDA about when/if they will implement the panel's recommendations.
Also in November, QVF produces a video called “But You Don't Look Sick”, putting in the spotlight that fluoroquinolone toxicity is an invisible illness.

Consumer Reports mentions fluoroquinolones in their Consumer Reports Health Letter. QVF has been talking with them and we look forward to more projects.

Journalist Yee-Liu Williams wrote an article about the November FDA hearing and quoted executive director Rachel Brummert in her article.

In December, we had the sad duty to inform everyone that Dr. David Flockhart from the University of Indiana passed away. Dr. Flockhart had treated patients with FQ Toxicity for years and was a leading doctor in this field. He will be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.
QVF also added attorney Scott Harford to our website on the Fluoroquinolone Lawsuits page.
Mr. Harford has been representing individuals suffering from Avelox-induced structural eye injuries since 2013.  
His law firm is accepting cases from all 50 states. If you have structural eye injuries as a result of Avelox, please contact Mr. Harford for a free case review.
299 Broadway, Suite 1310
New York, New York 10007
As always, the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation receives no compensation of any kind from the law firms listed on our website. There are several other attorneys who are taking cases who are not listed on our site. To be listed on our site, we must be able to interview them extensively, review their CVs, and be able to verify with the American Bar Association that they are attorneys in good standing. All three criteria are required to be listed on the QVF website. Whether listed on our site or not, it is important that you are comfortable with any attorney you choose and we encourage victims to use who they are comfortable with. 
Also in December, QVF received the disappointing news that the FDA decision regarding the generic loophole was delayed a second time (we started talking about this earlier). The hearing was on March 27, 2015 and a decision was supposed to be reached in September 2015. The decision was then delayed until February 2016. In the FDA's agenda, released in November, the decision was again delayed and now it is scheduled for July 2016. QVF issued a press release urging the FDA to stop with the delays and put patient safety first, echoing outrage by Public Citizen. 
QVF also weighed in on the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill that was passed in the House of Representatives, and now the Senate is working on a similar one. Unfortunately, the 21st Century Cures Act has several provisions that are especially worrisome and would weaken consumer safety, leaving patients exposed to potentially unsafe medications. QVF contacted North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis urging them to amend the bill before it becomes law. If the law passes “As Is” consumer protection will take an even deeper hit than it already is. We urge everyone to join us in urging the Senate to make necessary changes to the bill before it is too late.
Many news stories ran this year. It's been continuous coverage since November of last year and we are very proud of everyone who reached out to the media and told their stories. Fluoroquinolone toxicity reached a new level of advocacy this year and we could not be more pleased of everyone's advocacy efforts. Keep up the good work! 
On December 16, we were asked by the National Center for Health Research to join the Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition. We are truly honored and we thank NCHR for recognizing our work.
Sadly, we had to postpone our annual auction twice in November due to staff medical emergencies and deaths in our families. We don't yet know when it will be rescheduled but we are doing our best. In the meantime, please support QVF through our online store, KonectIDY, via PayPal using or a check to Quinolone Vigilance Foundation, 9817 Stephen Thompson Lane, Charlotte, NC 28213. Your donation will help us continue our work in advocacy, educating doctors, and funding upcoming research. QVF is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible. QVF staff are all volunteers and we receive no compensation of any kind. We do not have sponsors and we rely on private donations. Thank you to everyone who donated to us in 2015. We take our responsibility to the fluoroquinolone community very seriously and we got a lot done thanks to your support.
QVF has accomplished quite a bit in 2015, and we are looking forward to another productive year with your support.
Without all of you, our Board of Directors, volunteer staff, and Ambassadors, we would not be able to do what we do. 
Rachel Brummert, Executive Director
Chris Butler, Vice President
Donna Schutz, Assistant Director
Leslie Day, Assistant Director and Secretary
Christina Manthos-Sorrell, Treasurer
Victoria Chiovare, Fundraising Director
Jenny Frank, Public Relations Director


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