Trending News Today: Mark Zuckerberg Pledges Billions to Cure Diseases

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A legal filing by the Justice Department states that Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp are accusing each other of violating the terms of their merger agreement. According to The Wall Street Journal, the filing states that in a phone conference on Aug. 16, 2016, Cigna lawyers disclosed “further deterioration” in the companies’ relationship. The in-house attorneys from both companies allegedly exchanged letters accusing each other of breaching the merger agreement. The Justice Department is currently suing to block the merger based on antitrust grounds. They are seeking the letters as part of their effort to argue that the insurers’ claims of efficiencies and benefits from the deal will most likely not play out, reported the Journal. Furthermore, they argue that if they can’t get along, it’s unlikely that they will be able to achieve all the efficiencies they promise.

On Wednesday, the first global effort to stop the spread of dangerous superbugs was taken, with world leaders agreeing on steps to curb the rise of drug resistance, reported The New York Times. It’s estimated that 2 million people become sick from drug-resistant bacteria in the United States each year, and at least 23,000 die from the infections. The rising concern made its way to the United Nations General Assembly, with the various heads of state agreeing to develop national action plans to help increase the efficacy of lifesavings drugs in both animals and humans. They also pledged to strengthen regulation, and improve reporting systems that track how these drugs are used. Although this is a nonbinding agreement and did not require countries to commit to specific targets, it was still the first step in a broad effort to address the issue of drug resistance.

Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Dr Priscilla Chan, stated that they would give 99% of their Facebook shares to charitable causes through a limited liability company called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Now, this money is being put to work, with the couple announcing on Wednesday that they would invest at least $3 billion over the next decade to prevent, cure, and manage all diseases by the end of the century, reported The New York Times. Since the creation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the company has already invested in charter schools and education start-ups; however, putting the money towards curing diseases will be the group’s first major initiative in science. Zuckerberg stated at the event that if his organization’s plan worked, it could increase human life expectancy to 100-years-old. “That doesn’t mean no one will ever get sick,” Zuckerberg said. “But they should be able to treat it and manage it.”