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Conservatives seek ACA repeal-only bill; Amazon's healthcare maneuvers

* The House Freedom Caucus — a group of some of the most conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill — is seeking to renew efforts to pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act but not replace it for two years.

* Health insurer Anthem Inc. said it will exit the ACA exchange in Virginia, calling the individual market there "volatile," CNBC reported.

* The U.S. government is extending the deadline for health insurers to file their rate hike requests by nearly three weeks, The New York Times wrote. The insurers were given until Sept. 5 to submit requests due to uncertainty following President Donald Trump's threat to end the ACA's cost-sharing reduction payments.

* Insurers, business associations and conservative groups are finding ways to delay the health insurance tax, which is set to go back into effect in December, after the ACA repeal failed in July, according to Bloomberg News.

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc. published a report laying out Amazon.com Inc.'s early efforts to enter the healthcare sector, as well as potential investment moves such as partnering with a pharmacy benefits manager, CNBC noted.

* The New York Times reports on the disparity between the number of cancer-related clinical trials and the limited number of patients available for testing, as drug companies race to bring cancer therapies to the market.

Drug and product pipeline

* Ophthotech Corp. said the phase 3 clinical trial evaluating Fovista, added to Eylea or Avastin, to treat wet age-related macular degeneration failed to meet its prespecified primary endpoint of mean change in visual acuity at 12 months.

* The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a U.S. price advisory group, will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of ACE910, or emicizumab, Roche Holding AG unit Genentech's hemophilia A treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the drug, with a decision expected in the first quarter of 2018.

Operational activity

* Johnson & Johnson is expected to continue to fight liability claims alleging that the company's talc powder caused ovarian cancer, despite having lost four previous talc cases that have cost the drugmaker more than $300 million, Mark Raffman, a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP, told FiercePharma.

* S&P Global Ratings downgraded Endo International Plc's corporate credit rating to B from B+, amid continued generic pricing pressures and increased scrutiny on opioid prescriptions.

* Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. reported a 74% year-over-year drop in adjusted net profit to 5.26 billion Indian rupees for the first fiscal quarter of 2018, citing a challenging U.S. generic pricing environment, among other factors.

Sun Pharmaceutical's top priority was to bring its Halol facility in India "back in compliance," Dilip Shanghvi, the Indian generic maker's founder and managing director, said during an Aug. 11 earnings call.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 1.36% to 27250.23. The Nikkei 225 was down 0.98% to 19,537.10. In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.62% to 7,354.97, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.80% to 994.03.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence:

Poll: Americans want bipartisan ACA fix, say repeal failure a 'good thing': A majority of Americans want Republicans to work with Democrats to fix the Affordable Care Act and said the Senate's failure to repeal the law was a "good thing," according to a new poll from the nonpartisan nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.

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