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Morning Read: Obamacare faces contraception mandate in court, Merck wins case against Gilead

Also, Anacor Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA has accepted for review its New Drug Application, and FDA Commissioner Robert Califf outlined a tough new policy requiring drug companies to include blackbox labels on more than 100 types of painkillers.

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TOP STORIES

Obamacare will return to the Supreme Court today as the justices hear another challenge to the healthcare reform law’s contraception mandate. The challengers in the case, Zubik v. Burwell, argue the Obama administration is unjustifiably forcing religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor to cover birth control, despite an arrangement in which insurers provide contraception directly. — The Hill, Wall Street Journal

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Merck won in its Hepatitis C patient case against Gilead. — BioPharma Dive

LIFE SCIENCES

Prediction: Bill Ackman will be a goat or hero over Valeant (and you’ll know which within six months). – Wall Street Journal

Bad news for AstraZeneca: Its heart drug Brilinta was not much better for stroke patients than aspirin. – Reuters

Biotech startup Aerin Medical, which creates nasal congestion treatments, raised $16.7 million to commercialize in select markets. Targeted Technology Fund and KCK Group were part of the round. – Silicon Valley Business Journal

Sanofi and Regeneron got good news on its cholesterol treatment Praluent; it cuts the need for apheresis therapy, according to a completed trial. – Reuters

The FDA approved Eli Lilly’s psoriasis treatment ixekizumab (to be sold as Taltz). Lilly hopes this is a $1 billion drug. – FierceBiotech

Anacor Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA has accepted for review its New Drug Application seeking approval of the company’s crisaborole topical ointment created to treat dermatitis in children. — Drugs.com

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen arm is dialing up research through its Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), a unit focused on predicting and preventing certain diseases through new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. It is kicking off two new projects for COPD and gestational diabetes aimed at uncovering the biological underpinnings of the diseases. — FierceMedicalDevices

The Chinese vaccine controversy is ballooning. – Reuters

Immuno-oncology company Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc. raised $70.5 million. BioCentury

PAYERS-PROVIDERS

According to Physician’s Money Digest, doctors need to better educate themselves on social media guidelines. “Often, they don’t know [the guidelines] exist,” Kimberly Danbrock, R.N., senior risk management and patient safety specialist for the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. told the publication. “We have all incorporated [social media technology] so much into our lives but we were never taught in healthcare how to manage the technology.” — FiercePracticeManagement

Dr. Jim Hill, who won accolades for building up the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center before it was revealed that he took large amounts of funding from Coca Cola, has resigned from the institution on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. — Denver Business Journal

TECH

VisualDx, the popular clinical decision support system that in the past has focused on dermatology and visual signs of disease, has launched its next generation point-of-care program. — iMedicalApps

CirrusMD, a telemedicine startup focused on value-based care, has raised a little more than $1 million. — MobiHealthNews

POLITICS

Exactly one month into his new job, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf outlined a tough new policy requiring drug companies to include blackbox labels on more than 100 types of painkillers. — The Hill

Medicare spent $473 billion less between 2009 and 2014 than it would have if previous cost-growth trends had continued, a marker of a slowdown in healthcare spending, the Department of Health and Human Services reported. — The Hill

A LITTLE BIT EXTRA

The winners of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s annual Cool Science Image contest were chosen, placing the spotlight on some of the most stunning natural phenomena that escape our gaze on a regular basis. The displays from winners covered the full spectrum of scientific disciplines, from microbiology to astronomy. — IFLScience

Here is one of the winning video entries capturing a moving storm system:

Photo: Flickr user Brian Turner

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