Life Sciences
Top stories summarized by our editors

Science, technology, engineering and math skills are a primary focus for about 34% of schools or school districts, according to respondents to a recent SmartBrief on EdTech survey. Many also reported having programs in place designed to engage female students and minorities in STEM.

Marketers should eliminate the words "social selling" from their vocabulary, writes Bryan Kramer, CEO of PureMatters. Rather than pushing your products down customers' throats, try helping them and giving them genuinely useful tools and information, because that's the best way to win trust and boost sales in the long run, Kramer writes.

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Bryan Kramer

House lawmakers approved legislation Tuesday that would allow terminally ill patients to request access to experimental drugs that have undergone early-stage clinical trials but have yet to receive approval from the FDA. The bill, which would not require pharmaceutical companies to provide the drugs, was passed by the Senate last year and now goes to President Donald Trump for his expected signature.

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House

The Senate voted 55-43 to confirm former Eli Lilly and Co. executive Alex Azar as HHS secretary, making him the first official with a background in the pharmaceutical industry to lead the agency. Azar, who previously served as HHS general counsel and then deputy secretary during President George W. Bush's administration, will oversee federal handling of issues such as the opioid abuse crisis and rising drug prices.

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CNBC, Reuters

Some US hospitals are exploring pre-payment strategies for patients to help counter rising levels of patient debt and uncompensated care as patients adjust to greater cost-sharing. Iowa-based Henry County Health Center has started providing patients with cost estimates and medical advice ahead of surgery, while other hospitals are expanding charity eligibility, requiring advance payment and partnering with companies that provide zero-interest patient loans.

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Reuters

The FDA is asking that biological and pharmaceutical submissions use the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes standard to ensure that clinical research data standards are in line with U.S. health IT programs. The agency supports LOINC code adoption because clinical laboratories are using it and it will make data easier to be filed, understood and analyzed by clinicians. It is also recommending the codes because the Study Data Tabulation Model, which is the standard used for sharing laboratory test results in studies, supports LOINC code exchange.

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Regulatory Focus
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LOINC, FDA

The Senate Finance Committee voted 15-12 to advance Alex Azar's nomination as HHS secretary. The former Eli Lilly and Co. executive now faces a vote in the full Senate, where confirmation is expected.

A Nuance survey found that 54% of respondents aged 18 to 24 use online resources and physician ratings before choosing their doctors, compared with 39% of all adults. Seventy percent of young millennials rely on recommendations from family and friends about primary care providers, compared with 41% of seniors. When patients are dissatisfied with their care, most young millennials tell family and friends, while most seniors tell their providers.

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MobiHealthNews.com

Podcast companies such as Acast and Panoply are paving the way for programmatic advertising in podcasts that traditionally have not had the data capabilities to make it an attractive medium for advertisers. Acast offers ads that can be targeted by location or the time of day a podcast is downloaded.

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Nieman Journalism Lab

Small Business Administration chief Maria Contreras-Sweet says she's inspired by her mother, an immigrant who raised six children while working at a poultry processing plant. Contreras-Sweet's mother had confidence and raised her children to have the same sense of self-worth. "I think that's important to instill in our young girls -- that we matter, we deserve to be heard and we deserve to be treated equally," she says.

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Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA