As the presidential election draws ever nearer, the debate over how to address the rising cost of prescription drugs and provide healthcare coverage for all continues to rage. President Trump plans to unveil his healthcare plan soon. Governor Abbott of Texas has signed into law a measure to prevent ‘surprise billing.’ This and more are the top stories in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.

Texas hospitals applaud new bill to end surprise billing

Texas has become one of the first states in the nation to take action against so-called ‘surprise billing.’ Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law on Friday that is expected to eliminate surprise bills for patients while still allowing out-of-network hospitals to negotiate payments with health insurance plans. The bipartisan measure calls for an arbitration system for health plans and hospitals to come to a mutually acceptable payment amount without putting patients in the center of the dispute. The bill passed 29 votes to two with the dissenting votes coming from Sens. Donna Campbell and Charles Schwertner, who are both physicians.
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Trump says his healthcare plan is on the way in the coming months

President Trump promised to reveal his long-awaited healthcare plan soon, according to a new report. The President spoke with ABC News and claimed that the White House already has a draft of the plan. However, the president’s interview lacked details, prompting speculation in the media. The President is gearing up for his re-election bid. The healthcare plan may be timed to coincide with re-election efforts.
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Merck, Lilly and Amgen sue HHS to thwart rule requiring list prices in TV ads

Merck, Lilly, and Amgen filed suit against HHS in protest over a new rule that requires list prices in TV ads. The rule, which was slated to take effect July 9, has been protested by the three big pharma companies along with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The suit calls the rule both unlawful and unnecessary. Lilly, Pfizer, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson also filed concerns during the official comment period.
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Senate privacy bill aims to set new federal standard for consumer health apps

Privacy laws surrounding the burgeoning area of DNA testing and wearable fitness devices lag behind other areas of the law, and two senators are trying to change that to keep your health data safe. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have introduced a bill that would create new privacy regulations protecting consumer health data collected through health tracking apps, fitness wearables and direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits.
The bill was introduced June 14 and would, according to the senators, set a new federal standard for biometric consent. Consumer Reports, which supports the bill, said the current legal framework for privacy around health data is out of date and incomplete
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Data Presented At 24ᵗʰ Congress of the European Hematology Association Demonstrates Clinical Safety, Early Efficacy of Imago BioSciences’ IMG-7289 in Myelofibrosis Patients

Imago BioSciences, Inc. presented positive safety and early efficacy clinical data regarding its lysine-specific demethylase (LSD1) inhibitor, IMG-7289, at the 24th Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA). Based on the findings, Imago has expanded the study into a Phase 2b trial and is evaluating clinical investigations in additional myeloid diseases.
The data, from the ongoing IMG-7289-CTP-102 Phase 1/2a clinical trial, showed that IMG-7289 was well-tolerated in patients with high or intermediate-2 risk myelofibrosis resistant to or intolerant of approved therapy. In addition, the therapy was effective in reducing spleen volumes and substantially improved symptom scores in a majority of evaluable patients.
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Drug Prices Are a Populist Campaign Issue. Here Are the Latest Proposals to Lower Costs

As the presidential election grows increasingly heated, the debate around the cost of prescription drugs heats up, too. It’s a topic that both Republicans and Democrats embrace. Various proposals outlined in this article are discussed, including caps on the cost of high priced drugs, stopping the games companies play with pricing and more are recounted in this piece.
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