Recent news bites you may have missed



Move over, biologics. Still room for innovation around the daily pill.

A new study shows that a cheap, daily pill that combines low doses of three blood pressure drugs with a cholesterol drug can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. While the 300-person study did not last long enough to measure heart attacks or strokes, a larger five-year study in Iran found that the pill lowered the danger of heart attack, stroke or heart failure by a third. In other countries, the pill has been used to treat heart conditions in places with limited access to medical care – a model the researchers believe could be replicated among vulnerable patient populations in the United States.

Read more on the findings


Expanding access to clinical trials

In a deep dive on cancer clinical trials, Biopharma Dive reports some cancer centers have encountered challenges filling available trials and say there are more open than necessary, creating an “economic drain” on institutions. One of the problems? The bulk of studies are conducted at large academic medical centers. Eric Rubin, vice president of global clinical oncology at Merck Research Laboratories, suggests bringing more clinical trials to community sites could help make them more accessible and efficient.

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ICER plays “the price is right”

ICER claims to assess a drug’s “intrinsic value to patients,” but determining a drug’s value to any one individual patient who might benefit is far more subjective. According to a recent article in Managed Healthcare Executive, “the value ICER brings to the discussion is providing clarity around where treatments work and where there’s uncertainty.” While it’s positive to see an increased focus on patient outcomes, putting a price on a treatment’s worth won’t magically clear up the reimbursement controversy.

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CAR T primer

For a simple explainer and graphic on CAR T-cell therapies, check out Dana Farber’s blog: