Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Healthcare: NIH headed for $2 billion funding boost

The biggest news out of the Senate’s health spending bill so far is the $2 billion in new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

{mosads}The soon-to-be-unveiled bill would grow the agency’s total budget to about $34 billion, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

Other notable funding increases:

  • $1.39 billion for Alzheimer’s research, about $400 million more.
  • $261 million for opioid abuse, about $126 million more.
  • $300 million for President Obama’s precision medicine initiative, about $100 million more.
  • $626 million for antibiotic resistance programs, up about $53 million.

The boost to the NIH’s funding is the result of bipartisan negotiations between Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo), who leads the Senate subcommittee on health funding, and his counterpart, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

The Senate panel led by Blunt and Murray will begin work Tuesday on its bill, which GOP leaders hope to bring to a floor vote this year. For that to happen, lawmakers will have to avoid a landmine of amendments on the bill.

NIH advocates say they’re happy with the numbers so far, though they haven’t yet seen whether the money will come from other key health areas. — for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s an amazing number. But the devil’s in the details,” said Ellie Dehoney, the vice president for policy and advocacy for Research!America. “So far, so amazing.”

The Senate panel’s markup begins at 10:30 a.m., with a full committee markup expected on Thursday. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1t38CIA

Biden working on more collaborative cancer research

Vice President Biden unveiled a new cancer database that’s intended to help researchers share data to spur more discoveries.

The database, called the Genomic Data Commons, contains genomic data for 12,000 patients, with a plan for more to be added.

Researchers can search the database to look for patterns in how different patients responded to different treatments.

“This is good news in the fight against cancer,” Biden said in a statement. “With the launch of this new national resource, anyone can freely access raw genomic and clinical data for 12,000 patients — with more records to follow. Read more here. http://bit.ly/24uavKl

Martin Shkreli pleads not guilty to new charges

The pharmo bro appeared before a federal judge on Monday and pleaded not guilty to a new federal charge filed against him last week, claiming that he defrauded investors about a company-owned drug.

Federal prosecutors said Shkreli and his former attorney, Evan Greebel, misled potential investors for a pharmaceutical company called Retrophin. They said Shkreli concealed his ownership of the company’s stock by allocating it to seven employees.

The charges are unrelated to the accusations of price-gouging that the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals faced last fall. As CEO, Shkreli hiked the prices of a lifesaving anti-parasitic treatment called Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent overnight after buying up the drug. Read more here. http://bit.ly/25IjlXt

‘Superbug’ amendment on the defense bill?

Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) plan to introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to help spur new antibiotics.

The amendment comes about two weeks after U.S. researchers confirmed the new strain of bacteria resistant to what’s called “last resort” antibiotics.



The Senate’s health spending subcommittee holds a markup at 10:30 a.m.

House GOP leaders unveil their anti-poverty platform at 9 a.m.


Only 1 out of 26 food products endorsed by celebrities in advertising had healthy nutrition scores, according to a study by NYU. (Time)

Brazil’s sports minister says Zika cases at the Olympics will be “close to zero.” (The Guardian)

A landmark new study showed that physicians are still aggressively treating cancer patients at the end of their lives, even as experts increasingly warn that doing so can cause more harm than good. (STAT News)

The researcher who discovered a new strain of drug-resistant bacteria in the U.S. got the result while riding the Metro’s Red Line, and immediately texted back, “You’re s—-ing me.” (Washington Post).


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana says ObamaCare in its current form “simply does not work.” (New Orleans Times Picayune)

Most workers at the Trump Taj Mahal casino rely on ObamaCare or are uninsured (Associated Press)

Public health charities are making it possible for cities like Boston and Miami Beach to give out sunscreen for free in an attempt to prevent skin cancer (Governing Magazine)

Hawaii’s lack of mental healthcare is forcing teens to travel thousands of miles to the mainland for treatment (Associated Press)


First lady Michelle Obama touts the role of advertising in her six-year fight against food corporations, which are known for their own powerful marketing campaigns. http://bit.ly/1UmXqx9

Send tips and comments to Sarah Ferris, sferris@thehill.com, and Peter Sullivan, psullivan@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@sarahnferris@PeterSullivan4 

Tags Michael Bennet Michelle Obama Orrin Hatch Patty Murray Roy Blunt
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