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Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Reporting in the JAMA Network Open, investigators at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of California at San Diego explore the relationship between treatment costs and the research and development inputs that when into the corresponding drugs, focusing on 60 drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration over nearly a decade between early 2009 and the end of 2018. The team's modeling analyses did not support the notion that research and development investments track with the ultimate cost of a drug and found no clear association between these variables. Instead, the results suggest that "there was no association between estimated research and development investments and treatment costs based on list prices at the launch of the product or based on net prices a year after launch," the authors argue, adding that "drug companies should make further data available if they want to use this argument to justify high prices."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.