1. For once, some good news about drug pricing

Since the Orphan Drug Act was passed in 1983, the number of FDA approvals for orphan drugs has increased to records levels – 41 in 2015 alone. No shocker, orphan drugs have been criticized for commanding hefty prices. But a new study published in the journal Health Affairs found that orphan drug spending is only about 8.9 percent of total pharmaceutical spending. While that’s up from 4.8 percent before the ODA, the study projects spending will level off. That’s a big deal because *some people* blame rising drug spending on these rare diseases. The ODA has resulted in the approval of more than 552 orphan drugs overall, in many cases for diseases that had little or no previous treatments. Forward to your friend who thinks “big pharma is evil, bro.”

Now don't be stingy. Share this.Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

2. Cowabunga, science!

Fighting mutating superbugs with star-shaped weapons sounds more like the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie than the latest findings in microbiology, right? A team of scientists from the Melbourne School of Engineering would like to prove otherwise. A new study using star-shaped molecules has proven extremely effective at killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria while also being non-toxic to the body. Considering that team member Professor Greg Qiao believes “the rise of superbugs will cause up to ten million deaths a year by 2050,” and that only a few new antibiotics have been developed in the last 30 years, this could be the beginning of a new way to fight antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Splinter would be proud.

Now don't be stingy. Share this.Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

3. Feds fed-up: file fast or fear funding freeze

The Department of Health and Human Services released new policies Friday aimed at improving clinical trial access for the general public. AKA, the reason why clinicaltrials.gov was created. Turns out not everyone has been participating equally in the project though—a 2014 study reported that 30 percent of trials don’t publish information to the site. Vice President Joe Biden is annoyed. In June he even threatened to cut off funding to noncompliant institutions. Friday’s policies expand the types of studies that must be reported on, ask for faster registration of trials and generally require more detailed information about the research. See what you did researchers? You didn’t listen to the teacher the first time and now you have even more homework. Classic mistake.

Now don't be stingy. Share this.Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

4. A stroke of technological genius

Otsuka and NEC are teaming up to create a medicine “bottle” to help increase medication compliance. Apparently the threat of a 2nd stroke isn’t incentive enough for many patients. About half wander off course from their medication regimen after about six months. The new bottle will flash an LED light when a dose is due and will alert a patient’s prescriber of non-compliance. Pletal, Otsuka’s clot-fighting drug that reduces the chance of a second stroke, is optimally effective when taken uninterrupted so there are potentially large health benefits from the technology. This is all well and good until some do-gooder applies the technology to beer bottles that tell your doctor how much you drink. We’re just sayin’ it’s a slippery slope. That’s all.

Now don't be stingy. Share this.Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

5. This week in GMOs (Giants Merging Opulently)

The agribusiness behemoth Monsanto has accepted Bayer AG’s $66 billion takeover bid. The offer will be the largest all-cash deal to ever take place… if Bayer can get past regulatory hurdles in about 30 different jurisdictions. If it can’t, Bayer has to pay Monsanto $2 billion to make up for it. The deal would put Bayer in control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticide supply. This means Bayer’s biggest business is now agriculture-based, not healthcare. Could this mean less involvement in pharmaceuticals for Bayer? Most of that $66 billion came from bank loans and, as any college grad knows, owing the bank a lot of money means less cash to buy drugs.

Now don't be stingy. Share this.Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn