Happy Monday. Twenty years ago today saw the public debut of an inspiring superhero. I speak, of course, of Hermione Granger, the brilliant and daring young wizard whose first year at Hogwarts coincides with ours. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit UK bookstores on this day in 1997—a year before it came to the states (under a slightly revised name: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).
As one might expect, the namesake character in the series gets the lion’s share of love from readers, moviegoers, and wand buyers at Ollivander’s shop at Universal Studios Florida. But Hermione is the real role model—a thinker and a doer, someone who derives most of her wizardly power not by genetic inheritance but rather by endless study and practice. Unlike her Gryffindor besties, who routinely act out of impulse, Hermione is smart enough to weigh the risks of action and inaction—and then courageous and creative enough to act decisively in the face of invariably dim odds. Why? Because it’s necessary. That’s what heroism is.
The new “Wonder Woman” movie sings, likewise, because its protagonist’s power comes as much from her endless study and training—and her big-hearted humanity—as it does from her Olympian parentage. Audiences don’t cheer Wonder Woman because of her godlike speed, strength, and agility. We cheer her authenticity.
Which makes we wonder if the real superpower in these stories isn’t, simply, humanity.
What could be more magical than that?
The news, below.
Google is removing medical records data from search results. In an effort prevent leaks and breaches, Google is adding to the limited number of things that it bars for gaining search results. In this case, it's private medical records. That adds to a trend of rare, but high-profile, search algorithm tweaks which have also included personal financial information and even revenge porn. Given the state of current health IT security, it may have been inevitable. (The Verge)
FDA approves new blood clot drug from Portola Pharmaceuticals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Portola Pharma's new blood thinner. "Roughly 200,000 patients in the United States develop deep vein thrombosis each year and about 40,000 of these patients die of pulmonary embolism, caused when a blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, blocking blood flow," according to Portola. The drug could wring in more than $300 million in yearly sales by 2020, according to some analysts. (Fortune)
THE BIG PICTURE
Oklahoma doctor charged with murder after patient opioid overdose deaths. In our continued opioid epidemic watch: A doctor has been charged with murder for prescribing painkillers to her patients, according to a number of news agencies like the Washington Post. "[S]he was at a pharmacy, receiving what drug addicts call “the holy trinity” of prescription drugs: the powerful painkiller Hydrocodone, the anti-anxiety medication Xanax and a muscle relaxant known as Soma. In total, pharmacists handed her 510 pills that day — all legal, because she had a prescription with the signature of her doctor, Regan Ganoung Nichols, scrawled at the bottom, according to a probable cause affidavit." (Washington Post)
Martin Shkreli is still talking. Martin Shkreli is finally about to face court. But he's not exactly staying quiet. The "pharma bro" who hiked prices on niche drugs (very legally gaming aspects of the U.S. medicine approval system) is headed into a trial for a somewhat unrelated issue (securities fraud). His lawyers would really prefer that he shut up in this high profile situation. They may not get their wish. (Fortune)
It's reckoning time for Trumpcare. I'll have a lot more on this today and over the course of the week. But any minute now, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will be unleashing its analysis of the Senate's health bill. It wasn't exactly expected to be great from a coverage standpoint, considering its big cuts to Medicaid—however, the entire process remains chaotic, with various GOP factions claiming certain provisions won't fulfill their requests. But, judging by the House-passed American Health Care Act, that's not necessarily a deadly prognosis for the bill. (Fortune)
Hoax Over 'Dead' Ethereum Founder Spurs $4 Billion Wipe Out, by Jeff John Roberts
There's an Equality Gap in Medical Research, by Reuters
Slack's Quest to Make Work Easier, by Michal Lev-Ram