Good morning, Dailies. A quick note today. I’m in Palo Alto for a meeting of the Board of Fellows at Stanford Medicine—an institution that, in my view, is brilliantly forging a path to become a true leader in the digital health revolution.
And a case in point: Just yesterday it released a special report, entitled “Harnessing the Power of Data in Health,” that is one of the smartest and most comprehensive takes on the subject I’ve seen. This white paper is no light effort, mind you. In order to produce it, writes Lloyd Minor, Dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine, the team of authors did a deep-dive “analysis of existing health care research and open-source data, combined with insights from Stanford faculty and external health care experts.” And trust me, it shows: You can see the months of work and deep thinking that went into creating this report.
It is WELL worth the read!
I’ll save some of my own takeaways for later. But in the coming days, I’m hoping that I can convince Dean Minor to write an essay for the Daily taking us through the report—and sharing the lessons and insights that surprised him most from the research.
Until then, dive in yourself.
Theranos, Walgreens reach tentative settlement deal on breach of contract case. The Wall Street Journal reports that embattled blood testing firm Theranos is close to settling what may have been its most contentious lawsuit, with former partner Walgreens, for about $30 million. That's more than $100 million less than the investment that Walgreens put into the company (the pharmacy chain hawked Theranos tests at about 40 of its "Wellness Centers" before news broke that the company's proprietary blood testing technology didn't really work as planned and produced faulty results). (Wall Street Journal)
Oscar Health to expand Obamacare offerings in uncertain times for health law. Digital health insurance upstart Oscar Health, which recently teamed up with the famed Cleveland Clinic, announced Wednesday that it will be expanding its offerings in Obamacare markets in five states: Ohio, Texas, New Jersey, Tennessee, and California. "Why seek to expand in a time of uncertainty? We're confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018. For all of the political noise, there are simply too many lives at stake for representatives in Washington, D.C. not to do what's right for the people," wrote CEO Mario Schlosser in a blog post on the company's website.
The curious case of Mylan's tax rate and coal companies. Reuters is out with a truly extraordinary report about EpiPen maker Mylan Pharmaceuticals unique tax practices. The firm's been able to secure a bargain bin effective tax rate through—wait for it—ownership stakes in coal refining plants, of all things (Mylan is one of the largest generic drug makers on the planet). "Since 2011, Mylan has bought 99 percent stakes in five companies across the U.S. that own plants which process coal to reduce smog-causing emissions. It then sells the coal at a loss to power plants to generate the real benefit for the drug company: credits that allow Mylan to lower its own tax bill," writes Reuters. (Reuters)
Trump's draft executive order on drug pricing could be a boon to the industry. In another bit of breaking news this morning, the New York Times has reportedly obtained copies of a draft drug pricing executive order being prepped by the White House. And critics are already pouncing on what they see as a giveaway to the biopharma industry that won't do much to lower the high drug prices (and price increases) that President Donald Trump has frequently lambasted. One proposed element purportedly scales back a program meant to assist hospitals that serve low-income patients, part of a series of initiatives aiming to ease biopharma regulations. (New York Times)
THE BIG PICTURE
The House health care bill has gotten even more unpopular ahead of a planned Senate vote. The House-passed American Health Care Act has become significantly more unpopular as the Senate prepares to unveil its own health care legislation (and reportedly vote on it next week). The AHCA was never particularly popular in opinion polls; but now, according to a Morning Consult/Politico survey, a full 50% of respondents disapprove of the legislation and just 35% approve. (Morning Consult)
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