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Merck CEO Resigns Trump Council, Google Buys Digital Health Firm, Obamacare Insurers Get More Time

August 14, 2017, 3:35 PM UTC

Good morning. Merck CEO Ken Frazier resigned earlier today from President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, a group of more than two dozen corporate leaders who have been tapped to advise the president on his “job creation agenda.”

No other prominent Republican and Democratic leader equivocated in such a way. Virtually every Republican and Democratic leader—other than the President—denounced the attack for what it was: an act of terror.

“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values,” said Frazier in announcing his resignation, “by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

Trump had previously celebrated the support of the Merck CEO, one of the few African-American chief executives of a Fortune 500 company, in his manufacturing initiative. The president had sat Frazier next to him at the first gathering of his advisory council in February.

And again, at a meeting with drug company CEOs.

But after Frazier’s announcement this morning, the president shot back with an angry tweet: “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

Merck’s stock promptly shot up nearly 1 percent in early morning trading.

Frazier’s full statement is below.

Clifton Leaf, Editor in Chief, FORTUNE


Google snaps up diagnosis firm Senosis. Google's newest M&A foray is for Senosis Health, a digital health startup whose technology can help diagnose various medical conditions with existing features on smartphones, according to the company. Senosis tech can reportedly measure lung function, detect jaundice in newborns, and even measure hemoglobin levels in the blood. (Fortune)


Zynerba shares crash on yet another trial failure. Cannabis-focused drug company Zynerba can't seem to catch a break. Following a devastating clinical trial setback earlier this month for its lead experimental product, a cannabidiol gel, in epilepsy, the firm reported another trial failure on Monday for the product in treating knee pain due to osteoarthritis. The company will now mull its options and discuss the way forward with the Food and Drug Administration. Zynerba shares were down about 10% in early Monday trading.


Health insurers granted extra time to calculate 2018 Obamacare premiums. The Trump administration is giving companies that participate in Obamacare's individual insurance markets an extra three weeks to determine their 2018 premium rates. The decision was spurred by the uncertainty these companies are facing following Trump's threats to cut off federal payments to health insurers that help lower out-of-pocket medical costs for low-income Americans. (New York Times)


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Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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