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Brainstorm Health: Big Pharma and Blockchain, Most Powerful Women, Graham Cassidy Opposition

Good morning, Dailies. Today we posted on our annual list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. I’m really proud of the work my colleagues did in this issue, under the smart and steady leadership of my colleagues Kristen Bellstrom and Beth Kowitt—and I hope you’ll all read it. (Here’s the link again.)

This year marks the 20th edition of our MPW list—and as Kristen and Beth write, the progress made by women in business is both substantial and, well, complicated. Outright sexism, as well as more subtle-but-powerful institutional gender biases, remain stubbornly pervasive in business, as they do in life in general.

The economic cost of that sexism and gender bias has been well documented. I would argue there’s also a psychic cost—a genuine health cost to working in an organization that encourages, or even allows, for bias. I’d love your thoughts on this. So if you have some, please send, and I’ll follow up soon in another newsletter.

The news below.

Clifton Leaf, Editor in Chief, FORTUNE


Big pharma jumps on the blockchain wagon. My colleague Jeff John Roberts reports on a group of companies joining the ever-growing blockchain movement, a coalition called the MediLedger Project that including giants like Genentech and Pfizer. The theory goes that the digital ledger technology could ensure safety in the pharmaceutical supply chain by preventing the spread of stolen or counterfeit drugs. (Fortune)


Pfizer sues Johnson & Johnson, alleging “anticompetitive” dealmaking. Pharma giants Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are going to legal war over one of the most significant, but largely behind-the-scenes, elements of the U.S. health cost paradigm: exclusionary contracts set up between drug makers and insurance companies. The hot new field of “biosimilar” drugs is a key part of the case. Pfizer argues that J&J’s contracts with insurance companies is preventing adoption of the former firm’s lower-priced copycat of Remicade, one of J&J’s best-selling drugs. (FiercePharma)


CDC issues storm recovery health advice. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released new guidance on the health conditions to look out for the in the wake of the recent hurricanes which have ravaged U.S. states and territories. Dr. Sven Rodenbeck, acting incident manager for the CDC’s response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, tells Reuters Health the biggest deals will be injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning, infections, contaminated water, and mental health. (Reuters)

Basically the entire health industry is united in opposition to Graham Cassidy. The list of groups opposed to the Graham Cassidy bill to slash health funding and essentially turn over control of vast swaths of the health system to states has now grown to include traditional medical industry enemies like insurers, hospitals, and doctors (not to mention the AARP and patient groups). Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson issued his own, personal rebuke on Wednesday, arguing the bill fails patients on multiple counts. (Fortune)


5 Things Women Can Do to Become CEO of a Companyby Jen Wieczner

Hurricane Maria Strengthens Again on its Path to Turks and Caicosby Chris Morris

Warren Buffett Says People Who Are Pessimistic About the U.S. Are ‘Out of Their Mind’by Reuters

FedEx Is Airlifting Tons of BBQ Meals to Hurricane Irma Victimsby Rachel Lewis

Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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