1. Forty six new drugs were approved in the U.S. last year—a 21-year high. (Reuters)

2. The average American uses about the same amount of healthcare as a citizen of other wealthy countries. And yet, as a percentage of its economy, the U.S. spends twice as much on healthcare compared to its industrialized peers. Why? Higher prices. (The New York Times)

3. Centrexion Therapeutics, a biotech firm launched by ex-Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler, raised $67 million in Series D funding to bring its non-opioid, non-steroid pain killer drug to Phase III trials. (Endpoints News)

4. Industry consolidation, expensive drugs and political uncertainty are among mega trends that will shape healthcare this year. (Axios)

5. Several biotech companies are developing novel drug therapies that promise to repair inner-ear damage and restore normal hearing. The startups, including Decibel Therapeutics and Frequency Therapeutics, have attracted backing from VC firms and big pharma. (CNBC)