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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review and the pharmaceutical industry don’t even agree on what should be considered relevant evidence when deciding if a drug is safe and effective.

Why it matters: "This debate on what constitutes high-quality, 'real-world' evidence is not going away," said Walid Gellad, a pharmaceutical expert at the University of Pittsburgh.

Driving the news: Pharmaceutical companies that were singled out in ICER’s report yesterday on "unjustified" price hikes sent along hundreds of studies for ICER to consider in its analysis. ICER rejected almost all of them.

  • Many of the drug company studies were observational and funded by the companies, and ICER made it clear from the outset that it would only consider observational studies "that were high quality and comparative."

What we're watching: The FDA wants to use more simple trials and observational data in drug evaluations, similar to what drug companies submitted to ICER. 

  • But as Joseph Ross, a professor of medicine at Yale, wrote several years ago, it’s important to assess "the methodological rigor of observational studies before interpreting real-world effects."

Our thought bubble, via Bob: ICER's report is transparent, telling readers that none of the funding for its report came from any part of the industry and outlining clearly what it considered to be acceptable research.

Go deeper: Concerns rise about generic drugs from over

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.