Sep 14, 2017

FDA approves first “biosimilar” cancer drug

The FDA approved a new cancer therapy (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

The Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its-kind cancer treatment today, flexing a relatively new regulatory authority and emphasizing its potential to promote competition and bring down drug costs.

The drug, Mvasi, belongs to a class of drugs known as "biosimilars" — which are like generic versions of highly complex, and therefore expensive, biologic drugs.

Why it matters: Drug pricing traditionally hasn't been the FDA's forte, but Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is aggressively promoting more competition — especially from generics — as a way to make drugs more affordable.

Go deeper

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — states that have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing.

The big picture: With 112,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 15 mins ago - Health

Q&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S., Axios is answering readers' questions about the pandemic — how it spreads, who's at risk, and what you can do to stay safe.

What's new: This week, we answer five questions on smokers' vulnerability, food safety, visiting older parents, hair cut needs, and rural vs. urban impact.

The other coronavirus test we need

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Researchers are racing to develop tests that detect whether someone may have developed immunity to the coronavirus, which could help society return to normal faster.

Why it matters: These tests could help people know if they are able to go back to work, as well as aid researchers in tracking the scale and death rate of the disease — key data for current and future pandemic policies.

Go deeperArrow43 mins ago - Health