Obama Signs Cures Bill Into Law
The $6.3 billion measure, which includes funding for drug treatment, precision medicine, cancer research and other initiatives, will likely be the last measure that he signs into law during his presidency.
Obama Signs $6.3 Billion Law For Cancer Research, Drug Treatment
President Obama signed a $6.3 billion bill to fund drug treatment, a precision medicine initiative and Vice President Biden's signature effort to "end cancer as we know it." In an emotional bill signing ceremony — likely the last one of this presidency — Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act in a White House auditorium. The signing brought full circle Obama's State of the Union challenge to Congress to "surprise the cynics" by tackling some of the biggest health priorities facing the country. (Korte, 12/13)
White House Moves Quickly To Release Opioid Money
With $500 million in hand to fight the opioid epidemic, White House officials are moving quickly to get that money flowing to the hardest-hit states—and pushing local officials to spend the new dollars on treatment above other addiction-related initiatives. (Shesgreen, 12/13)
In other national health care news —
Obamacare Report Card Claims Next Year's Higher Premiums Are 'One-Time Adjustment'
The Obama administration on Tuesday released a wide-ranging, positive report card on the Affordable Care Act, describing how Obamacare has driven down the rate of people without health insurance "to its lowest level in history," increased financial security and access for consumers who seek medical care, and bent the cost-curve of health-care spending. (Mangan, 12/13)
We’ve Updated Dollars For Docs. Here’s What’s New.
Today we’ve updated our Dollars for Docs interactive database, adding an additional year of data and some new features that make it easier to see how much money your physician receives from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Dollars for Docs now includes payments made from August 2013 through December 2015. (Grochowski Jones, Tigas and Ornstein, 12/13)
The Wall Street Journal:
Judge Takes Aim At Anthem’s Defense Of Cigna Deal
A federal judge put a lawyer for Anthem Inc. on the hot seat Tuesday, probing potential weaknesses in the insurer’s argument that its proposed acquisition of Cigna Corp. wouldn’t harm competition. ... Phase one of the two-part trial, focusing on whether the deal would harm large national employers, ended Tuesday. The judge brought in lawyers from both sides to pepper them with questions about the evidence they have presented so far. While both sides at times faced tough questions, Anthem appeared to have the rockier ride. (Kendall, 12/13)
The Wall Street Journal:
Eli Lilly Offers Discount For Insulin As Prices Soar
Eli Lilly & Co. said Tuesday it would discount the list prices of its insulin brands by as much as 40% for uninsured patients and others paying for the drugs largely out-of-pocket, following an outcry over soaring prices of diabetes treatments sold by Lilly and its competitors. The price concession, intended for patients who currently pay the highest of out-of-pocket costs, is the latest sign that some drugmakers are bowing to public pressure to rein in prices. (Loftus and Jamerson, 12/13)
The New York Times:
Extensive Brain Defects Seen In Babies Of Mothers With Zika
Babies born to Zika-infected mothers are highly likely to have brain damage, even in the absence of obvious abnormalities like small heads, and the virus may go on replicating in their brains well after birth, according to three studies published Tuesday. Many types of brain damage were seen in the studies, including dead spots and empty spaces in the brain, cataracts and congenital deafness. There were, however, large differences among these studies in how likely it was that a child would be hurt by the infection. (McNeil and Belluck, 12/13)
The Washington Post:
How Do Dogs’ Genes Affect Their Behavior? Your Pet Could Help Scientists Find Out.
Doberman pinschers are more prone than other dog breeds to compulsive behaviors like blanket-chewing. And in 2014, researchers unveiled some clues to a cause: Obsessive-compulsive disorder is in some dogs’ genes. Studies like this that examine how DNA affects dogs’ behavior and thinking could, in theory, shed light on why some breeds have better memories than others, what genes make Labs so good at retrieving, or even what drives some dogs to bark at the UPS guy. Linking behaviors to genes is simpler in dogs than in humans: Thanks to generations of selective breeding, dog DNA is far less variable than ours. (Brulliard, 12/13)