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U.S. Congress Averts a Government Shutdown, and 2014 Healthcare Year in Review

IP Blog | Dave Melin | December 28, 2014

BioBlog Weekly oncologyThis week in healthcare, Express Scripts will offer just one high-cost Hepatitis C drug, Congress passes its FY 2015 budget, and Google Ventures invests 36% of its budget in health and life science start-ups.

FY 2015 Omnibus Budget Passed, Including $150 Million Increase for NIH

In a move to narrowly avert a government shutdown, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to fund “most federal agencies” through fiscal year 2015. The bill, which totals $1.1 trillion, includes a $150 million increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as a $27 million increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

2014: The Health Care Year in Review

As the 2014 healthcare year comes to a close, the Commonwealth Fund provides a run-down of the 8 most noteworthy health care happenings from the past year. The list includes the lowering of the uninsured rate due to the ACA, Republicans gaining control of Congress, high drug prices with Sovaldi as the lightning rod, and the increasing momentum of ACOs.

Biotech Bull Markets and Billion-Dollar Valuations

In this article, Yahoo! Finance contributor Adam Feuerstein looks ahead to next year’s stock market, arguing that “the reality of reined-in (lower) drug pricing represents the greatest threat to the continued biotech bull market” and providing a list of “the most expensive, development-stage biotech and drug companies, ranked by market cap.”

Clinical Pathways Can Lead to Cost Savings, Better Care

In this OncLive article, Dr. Marcus Neubauer cites evidence supporting the use of clinical pathways and argues that clinical pathways “are not only effective tools for improving the quality of care, but also for driving value in healthcare.”

Oncology Tag Ontology

This analysis examines the “ontology” of oncology-related hashtags, “to promote collaboration in the oncology community and to improve cancer care.” Currently the #1 professional tag is #oncopharm. The site also lists common clinical and scientific hashtags, as well as providing a graph of the hashtags’ use over time.

Google Ventures Shifts Focus to Health Care

In 2014, Google Ventures, the venture-capital arm of Google, invested over a third (36%) of its total portfolio into health care and life science startups, which is “up from 9% each of the prior two years.”

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