By Clifton Leaf
March 13, 2018

Good morning, Dailies. No big-picture essay today. We’re closing the April 1 issue and preparing for our two-day LIVE edition of Brainstorm Health at Laguna Niguel next week.

But one thing worth a quick note today is that Sir Andrew Witty—whom I’ve always viewed as one of the more thoughtful and forward-thinking drug-company execs when he ran GlaxoSmithKline—has been tapped to run Optum, the pharmacy benefits management division of UnitedHealth Group (see John Carroll’s write-up in his daily-must-read “Endpoints News”).

As Carroll points out—and as I wrote about in the introduction to 2016 “Change the World” list—Witty devoted much of his focus at GSK to a worthy endeavor: creating a good business model that, at the same time, improved access to essential drugs around the globe. Witty, in my opinion, is someone who understood the power of doing well by doing good—which, of course, is the theme of Fortune’s “Change the World” effort and our CEO Initiative. (Carroll also notes that GSK was no saint when it came to jacking up prices on older drugs—an ongoing industry-wide problem.)

It will be interesting to see how Witty takes on this new role on the opposite end of the drug price war. His new job, after all, will be to fight back against pharma’s fondness for ’cause-we-can price gouging.

That should be a battle worth watching.

Clifton Leaf, Editor in Chief, FORTUNE


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