TORONTO – Whether it’s President Trump obtaining the drug Regeneron or COVID-19 test kits fast tracked in the U.S. and Canada, this has been the year of temporary emergency approvals for drugs and medical devices. What is sometimes overlooked are permanent programs like Canada’s Special Access Program and the U.S.’s Expanded Access Program, designed to provide therapeutics to patients who have exhausted every avenue for a cure or relief from a devastating disease.
If a new federal rule withstands politics and potential court challenges, U.S. health care prices may finally be freed from their historic black box. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, along with the Departments of Labor and the Treasury, issued the Transparency in Coverage final rule Oct. 29 requiring most private health plans to disclose pricing and cost-sharing information so Americans will know in advance how much they will have to pay for prescription drugs, medical devices and other health care products and services.
Tencent Holdings Ltd. has launched two med-tech solutions to facilitate data sharing and management with artificial intelligence capabilities, marking an additional step into the smart health care realm for the company. The Chinese tech giant unveiled the two products at the 83rd China International Medical Device Expo Oct. 20.
Wellington Life Sciences general partner Regina Hodits, during a talk with CBT Advisors CEO Steve Dickman at the recent Biopharm America meeting, said the disaster scenario feared for European investments when COVID-19 struck “turned out very different. We never have a lot of time off in summer, not as much as we would want to, but this year we certainly had no time off,” as portfolio firms found money and Wellington tapped new opportunities.
The FDA has granted Plus Therapeutics Inc. fast track designation for its lead candidate, Rhenium Nanoliposomes (RNL), for treating recurrent glioblastoma, propelling it into the sixth cohort of a phase I dose-finding trial.
Columbia University professor and robotics engineer Hod Lipson knows the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) on a global level. “It permeates everything we do, from the stock market, from predicting the weather to what product you’re going to buy,” he said Wednesday during the second day of the virtual Ai4 2020 conference. “It’s even grading essays. You name it.”
While the U.S. and other countries are looking to step up their own domestic drug and device manufacturing, a bigger takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is the need for resilient supply chains that can withstand a global scramble for products suddenly more in demand than the supply can support.
With no new cases reported for more than 100 days, Taiwan appears to have successfully contained the spread of COVID-19 and has drawn attention to its medical achievements. Experts said at BIO Asia-Taiwan conference this week that with continuous government and investor support, the East Asian nation could move further up to join other leading biotech players.
The alleged activities of two Chinese hackers outlined in a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday offer “concrete examples of two concerning trends,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Demers said, as U.S.-China relations further soured with the news of the charges.
Before the lessons of COVID-19 fade into yesterday’s news, Congress should start preparing for the next pandemic, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is advising. As the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the senator issued a white paper Tuesday identifying areas that must be addressed.