2017 was a year of many landmarks, including the highest NMEs approved in any year except 1996. It was a year of many milestones in the war on cancer and a year in which the contentious fight over healthcare, insurance, and who pays for it continued in Congress. A look at these and other top stories in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.


Updated: New Drug Approvals for FDA: 2017 Hits 21-Year High

The FDA has approved 46 new molecular entities (NMEs) in 2017, the highest amount approved in any year except 1996. This number is not without controversy, as some feel that approvals should not be tracked as a statistic itself. The record-setting number may be a factor of more applications, rather than an increase in approvals themselves, for example.

5 Milestones Of 2017 In The War On Cancer

More than double the number of new drugs were approved by the FDA in 2017 as compared to 2016. A dozen products were in the field of oncology, with many treatments breaking ground in the war against cancer. This article includes numerous highlights from the field of oncology this year.

2017’s top physician practice stories include payment reform, politics and changing business models

Fierce Healthcare looks at the top stories affecting healthcare in 2017, including MACRA and MIPs, the Trump Administration’s changes to the ACA, megamergers, and more. Many of these stories are likely to continue to dominate the headlines in 2018.

High Out-of-Pocket Costs May Place Oral Cancer Medications Out of Reach

High out-of-pocket costs continue to act as a barrier between patients and treatment options, especially for oral cancer medications. Even for the insured, the costs of medications can be a shock. Researchers found that that 10 percent of patients did not pick up their prescription when they were required to pay less than $10. The number who did not pick up prescriptions rose to 32 percent among those who were charged $100–$500 and to nearly 50 percent among people whose out-of-pocket costs were more than $2,000.

FDA Chief Says He’s Open To Rethinking Incentives On Orphan Drugs

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is questioning the 1983 Orphan Drug Act. Gottlieb isn’t alone in rethinking the approach to drugs for orphan drugs. Although the act did help increase orphan drugs, the price tag is still a big hurdle for many patients. There remains a great unmet need for approximately 30 million patients with rare disorders for drugs to treat approximately 7,000 conditions.

Congress Passes Short-Term Patch For CHIP Funding But Punts On Long-Term Solution

CHIP funding lapsed after Democrats and Republicans failed to reach an agreement on how to pay for a five-year extension of the program. States are furious at the lack of leadership among Congress and wondering how they will pay for the program. An update on CHIP funding and the short-term solutions for the program.