This week, we highlight how the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 could impact the U.S. biopharma industry. We also look at digitization in health care, the challenges facing researchers deploying the approved monkeypox vaccine, and a video on how COVID-19 evades the immune system. Finally, we look at what growing human brain cells in a mouse means for bioethics.
Each week, we highlight five things impacting the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes a provision that allows Medicare to negotiate drug pricing with manufacturers. Although the number of medications affected is limited each year, the impact to drugmakers could be substantial. In the first year the legislation is enacted, the impact will be limited to small-molecule drugs; starting in 2028, however, biologics covered under Part B of the act would also be in scope for negotiation.
The health care industry rapidly adopts new treatments and drugs, but it is much slower to adopt new tools to improve patient experience and provider workflows. The drastic changes required to serve patients via remote telehealth visits during the pandemic have served as an example of how adopting technology could improve these processes. Now, as the pandemic slowly recedes, health care providers and systems are looking at which of these changes make sense to keep in the long run.
Normally, having an approved vaccine for a disease is major part of the battle when a new outbreak begins to spread globally. With monkeypox, making a vaccine available for broad application has presented numerous challenges. Health experts and physicians need to better understand the efficacy and best use of the existing vaccine in the context of the current outbreak. It is proving difficult to ethically and efficiently design trials to gain more understanding of how the already approved monkeypox vaccine would be best used.
More than two years into the global pandemic, our understanding of how humans fight, and sometimes lose, to the virus that causes COVID-19 is continuing to evolve. This quick video highlights how our immune system fends off the virus and how the virus adapts over time to try and evade the immune system. Understanding this dynamic goes a long way toward explaining why there is a steady stream of new variants that likely signal COVID-19 will remain endemic.
Prior to recent advances in biological research, medical experiments fell neatly into one of two boxes. Some research studied animals and had to abide by one set of ethical guidelines and constraints. Other research used human subjects and had to comply with a much stricter set of ethical standards. Now, new research is combining human tissue with animal models. This development requires rethinking how we conduct ethical research.