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Big drugmakers Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Amgen have submitted data-mining analyses of electronic medical records to the Food and Drug Administration to help expedite the approval of new or improved medicines, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: So far, parsing patient data instead of carrying out long clinical trials has cut costs and shortened drug-development times for breast cancer, bladder cancer and leukemia drugs.

Details: Companies take hospital and doctor files for cases where patients already took a drug during routine care and then analyze the changes in health data to test side effects.

Yes, but: Relying on health records, which often contain errors, doesn't produce the same level of scientific scrutiny as clinical trials.

Go deeper: Drug makers are eating up a vast amount of the health care industry's profits

Go deeper

7 mins ago - Sports

Simone Biles won't compete in individual vault or uneven bars Olympic finals

Photo: Fred Lee via Getty Images

Simone Biles will not compete in the individual vault or uneven bars finals at the Tokyo Olympics, USA Gymnastics announced Friday.

Why it matters: Biles drew global attention after stepping out of the individual all-around and team finals to prioritize her mental health. It's unclear if she will compete in the balance beam or floor exercise events.

8 mins ago - Sports

Caeleb Dressel breaks world record in men's 100m butterfly, wins 3rd gold in Tokyo

Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel broke the world record in the men's 100-meter butterfly final in Tokyo on Saturday, picking up his third gold medal of this year's Games.

The big picture: Hungary's Kristóf Milák won the silver, and Switzerland's Noe Ponti took the bronze.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

DeSantis issues order barring Florida schools from mandating masks

Photo: Michael Reaves via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday issued an executive order that bars local school districts from requiring students to wear masks when they return to the classroom next month.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has led to a spike in new infections across the United States, triggering another round of debate about COVID guidelines in schools.