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Brainstorm Health Daily: June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017, 6:13 PM UTC

Greetings, Daily readers. Sy at your service.

Some big news today: The Senate has finally unveiled its health care legislation after several weeks of intrigue, closed-door meetings, and rampant speculation. It’s a huge piece of lawmaking, so there will be much to parse in the coming days. But here’s what we know about it so far.

“[T]he bill would… repeal most of the taxes that pay for the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, give states wider latitude to opt out of its regulations and eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a healthcare provider that offers abortion services,” according to the Washington Post. That’s on top of heavy cuts to Medicaid.

However, the legislation also differs from the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) in several key ways. For instance, it links individual insurance subsidies to income rather than just age, an issue that several moderate GOP Senators cited as a major concern. Will it be enough to scrap up 50 votes? Only time will tell.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


Fitbit is branching into the sleep apnea field. Fitness tracking and wearables firm Fitbit has had a tough go in the past year, grappling with a finicky customer base and a crowded competitive landscape. Which is why one of its chosen strategies has been to branch out into wider markets. Now, the company is trying to go into the sleep apnea field—a gigantic space that continues Fitbit's recent focus on sleep. The sleep apnea monitoring features may even be integrated into the company's upcoming smartwatch product. (Wareable)


Novartis is having a pretty good month. Rack up another win for Swiss drug giant Novartis: the company's experimental canakinumab, a heart treatment, significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular death in a late-stage trial. It's good news for the company considering that its existing heart failure treatment Entresto hasn't been nearly the sales success that it once predicted it would be. And it comes after several promising study results in fields ranging from eye diseases to next-generation cancer medications.

Shire finally snags a long-awaited approval for an ADHD drug. The Food and Drug Administration has finally approved Shire's Mydayis, an ADHD treatment meant to last for 16 hours and which has taken about 10 years for the drug maker to get to the regulatory finish line. The FDA originally rejected the treatment in 2006 (although Shire has several popular products in the ADHD field, including Vyvanse). It could be a big boost for the company considering that Vyvanse's patents will expire in 2023.


Who Americans blame for the opioid epidemic. The opioid epidemic is a crisis with many parents, as my colleague Erika Fry so eloquently explored in her recent feature on drug distributing giant McKesson. But blame is often narrowly targeted when it comes to consumers. And it's no different for the painkiller overdose scourge. The bulk of surveyed respondents in a new poll laid the blame at the feet of drug abusers themselves (29%), followed by physicians (19%) and pharma companies (15%). You can read the rest of the findings here. (Fortune)


This State Just Became the Third in the U.S. to Allow Delivery Robotsby Madeline Farber

Amazon's Alexa Can Now Control Your Home Camerasby Jonathan Vanian

Tech Giants Made More Than $1 Million Per Employee Last Yearby Lisa Fu and Stacy Jones

Why Amazon's Whole Foods Deal Is Terrifying Food Makersby Beth Kowitt

Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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