Susana Machado • September 29, 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

The Gears of Government Grind … Fast?

On Tuesday, the FDA announced that nine tech companies, including Samsung, Apple, and FitBit, will be put into a program that would reduce regulations on health software development. Companies in the program will have their software evaluated to verify it meets quality standards, and if they pass these audits, would be pre-certified and face a shorter approval process, or none at all.

 

Verily Life Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, and Roche Holding AG are also a part of the program, which commissioner Scott Gottlieb hopes will streamline the process to market, and therefore increase access to theses health products.

Floodwaters Bring Dangerous Disease

Flooding is typically associated with a higher risk of infection, but this can be significantly lowered by minimizing the amount of people displaced and ensuring sanitation systems are function and water sources remain uncompromised. Unfortunately, this isn’t always doable.

 

Harvey brought skin and gastrointestinal infections to Houston along with devastating property damage. Earlier this week, a Texas woman died as a result of a more serious and rare infection: necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria. Fortunately, no other infections have been identified.

No Need to be Pricky

This week the FDA approved the first ever glucose monitor that does not require a blood sample. Made by Abbott, the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System uses a sensor that is implanted under the skin and remains on at all times. Users can view their blood-glucose level by waving a reader over the sensor site. The sensor needs to be replaced every two weeks.

 

The device was only approved for patients 18 and up and Abbott has not yet released pricing information. The company has said pricing should be similar to that of the product in Europe: $69 for the reader and $69 for each sensor.

Still No Official Declaration on Opioid Epidemic

This summer, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis recommended that the opioid epidemic be declared a national emergency. In August, President Donald Trump did just that, or did he?

 

Despite the verbal declaration, nothing official has come from the White House, which means none of the financial resources given by such an act can be distributed or used. According to the New York Times, the White House is reviewing options to expedite the process.

 

Meanwhile, the commission met on Wednesday and was join by PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl, who announced they support a reduction in dose dispensing from 30 days down to 7.. The move was applauded by commission head Chris Christie, who is expected to release the commission’s final report on November 1.

Bad Things Come in Threes

APOE4, the genetic marker linked to the development of brain plaques which lead to Alzheimer’s disease, has been found to affect two other characteristics of the disease as well.

 

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine discovered that the gene also makes tau tangles and increases brain inflammation which leads to cell death. This information gives scientists a much better understanding of the disease and its potential causes.

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