Trending News Today: US Health Care Spending Projected to Continue Soaring

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

Yesterday, New Jersey Gov Chris Christie signed a piece of legislation that limits the amount of opioid pills physicians can prescribe for acute pain, according to The Wall Street Journal. The new law lowers the limit for initial opioid prescriptions to a maximum 5-day supply, from 30 days for acute pain. Additionally, the law directs practitioners to prescribe the lower effective dose of immediate-release opioid drugs. Christie has said he plans to spend his final year in office combating the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic, the WSJ reported.

The US Patent and Trademark Office has ruled that the patents issued to the Broad Institute regarding CRISPR technology are valid. The validity of the patents was challenged by the University of California, Berkeley. Although the proceedings are not entirely settled, the Broad Institute will hold the patient for using CRISPR in humans, other animals, and plants, according to NPR. CRISPR technology, which is already worth billions, can edit DNA with unprecedented accuracy. Litigation has swirled around who has the right to profit from the technology. Depending on the final ruling from the patent office, individuals who want to use CRISPR in higher organisms will receive licenses from both Berkeley and the Broad Institute, NPR concluded.

Over the past year, United States health care spending has risen 4.8%, and projections estimate that the growth will soar over the next decade as Americans age and medical costs rise, reported The Wall Street Journal. In 2016, more than $3.4 trillion was spent on health care, and is projected to increase to $5.5 trillion by 2025. A new study by the CDC, however, projects that the average growth in health care spending will be even faster between this time period, at 5.6% per year, and driven by inflation in medical service costs and products, as well as the aging population.

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