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Your Money or Your Meds

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Cancer research is moving on stronger than ever, and pharmaceutical companies and biotechs are finding new treatments, says Katherine Hobson at the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog. But those innovations come with a price — cancer drugs are expensive, and the cost keeps going up. Assuming there will be no changes in pricing trends, NCI estimates medical costs due to cancer will hit $158 billion in 2020, and could even go as high as $207 billion, Hobson says. A recent study published jointly by the Journal of Oncology Practice and the American Journal of Managed Care found that 10 percent of patients failed to fill new prescriptions for oral cancer drugs, and experts say it's partly because of the cost to patients, she adds. The study's authors say policymakers need to find ways to lower the cost of cancer prescriptions for patients so that there's no barrier to their receiving the best care possible.

The Scan

Omicron's Emergence

The World Health Organization has called Omicron a SARS-CoV-2 "variant of concern," the Los Angeles Times writes.

Not as Much

Merck's pill to treat COVID-19 reduces the risk of hospitalization and death among COVID-19 patients by less than previously reported, the New York Times says.

Bats That Hang Together

Discover magazine writes that researchers have found a social microbiome among vampire bats.

PLOS Papers on CEWAS, Simian Varicella Virus Transcriptome, Dermatomyositis Markers

In PLOS this week: multi-omic approach to home in on genetic risk variants, transcriptomic analysis of the simian varicella virus, and more.