Newsworthy – Mar 29th, 2019

Advances in medicine are outpacing the political debate over drug prices, millions of Americans are facing the risk of contaminated drinking water, a falling average mortgage rate, and a breaking point has been reached at the southern border.

These are just a few of the top newsworthy items from this past week as first shared on our Facebook page.

  • There’s a scientific and economic revolution happening in medicine, and the political debate over drug prices isn’t keeping up.

    Medical innovation is hurtling toward a new era of highly specialized drugs — some tailor-made for each individual patient. They may be more effective than anything we’ve seen before, and also more expensive.

    The old dichotomy of a brand-name pill followed by a generic version of that pill doesn’t really hold up for custom-made drugs.

    From Axios​
  • Eli Lilly says the price it was paid for its widely used Humalog insulin dropped by 8.1% during the previous five years after accounting for rebates and discounts, to an average of $135 a month.

    During the same period, the average list price rose 52% to $594 a month. The rising cost of diabetes treatments has figured prominently in broader discussion of drug prices.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Gene therapy is the new wave in cancer treatment. It helps patients’ own immune systems fight off cancer — which means each dose is custom-made for each patient. It’s a highly promising approach, but treatment can come with a price tag north of $1 million.

    From Axios
  • More than 1 million private wells that supply drinking water in mostly rural parts of the Midwest could face the risk of contamination from floodwater.

    The government estimates that about 15 million U.S. households — most often in rural areas that don’t have access to public drinking water systems — rely on private wells.

    From AP

  • The average mortgage rate is fast approaching 4%—low enough that economists and lenders believe it will help jump-start the housing market again. This week, the average for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.06%, the lowest since January 2018.

    Mortgage rates have been on the decline along with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, as the Fed pauses interest-rate increases and investor malaise about the economy continues.

    From The Wall Street Journal

  • The Federal Housing Administration, concerned it is allowing too many risky loans to be extended, is tightening its standards. The agency told lenders this month it would begin flagging more loans as high-risk, and that those mortgages will go through a more rigorous manual underwriting process—a decision that could mean fewer first-time home buyers are able to get mortgages.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Apple announced it was entering the competitive streaming arena with a service that will feature original series from such luminaries as Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.

    From Los Angeles Times
  • With its IPO expected this week, Lyft will stand as the biggest test of the public market’s appetite for unprofitability since the dot-com era. The ride-hailing company posted a loss of $911 million last year, the most of any U.S. startup in the 12 months preceding its IPO.

    From The Wall Street Journal

  • Chinese telecom giant Huawei claims nearly a third of the global 4G market, and it may get closer to half the market in a 5G world, nudging the technological center of gravity away from western telecom vendors.

    From Axios

  • The U.S. border chief said the situation on the southern border has reached its breaking point amid a surge in families seeking asylum. The Border Patrol has stopped prosecuting first-time crossers in one Texas region.

    From The Wall Street Journal

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