Brainstorm Health: An American CEO on Gun Violence, Pfizer Brexit Costs, Cigna-Express Scripts Merger

September 4, 2018, 5:00 PM UTC

Good morning, Dailies.

Clifton Leaf, Editor in Chief, FORTUNE

I’ve devoted quite a few of these columns in recent months to the scourge of gun violence. In February, after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I wrote about how another gun-loving country—Australia—managed to put a stop to its own relentless procession of shooting deaths, boldly creating a national firearms safety model that truly works. (Here’s how that cool country down under all but ended gun violence.)

And I’ve written as well about why efforts to control gun violence in the U.S.—efforts that largely ignore the weapons themselves—have failed, and will continue to fail.

Remarkably, we continue to witness that abject failure every day, to the point where the number of young victims, staggering as it is, blends into the routine.

In May, a teenaged gunman armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver killed nine students and a teacher and injured 13 others at Santa Fe High School, in Santa Fe, Texas. It was, believe it or not, the 22nd school shooting of the year. Between the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the May massacre at Santa Fe High School, there were shootings at schools in Georgia, Alabama, California, Montana, Virginia, Maryland, Florida (again), California (again), and Illinois, according to the Washington Post’s school shooting database. There were three casualties at Great Mills High School in Maryland. At Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama, 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington was shot dead. She was two months shy of graduation. She had hoped to become a nurse.

Amid this daily bludgeoning of grim news, the American public is still bitterly divided on what to do about it. But the movement seems to be toward greater control of firearms. According to an April survey by the Marist Poll, for NPR and the PBS NewsHour, 52% of U.S. adults (and 51% of registered voters) say “stricter gun regulation should be an immediate priority for the current Congress.” (That includes 75% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 26% of Republicans.)

But whether Congress acts or not, we can be encouraged that other American leaders are taking action. One of those, I’m happy to say, is Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., who is leading his iconic American company to take a stand against this threat to public health. This morning Chip published an important commentary that I hope you’ll all read and share.

He explains why his values-driven firm is taking action now, and the three specific initiatives Levi Strauss is undertaking.

In my view, it’s a bold and important move for a great American company. Read his Fortune op-ed here.


Deloitte, Vineti team up on gene therapy precision medicine platform. Deloitte and Vineti, a cloud-based digital health company backed by the likes of the Mayo Clinic and GE, have struck a partnership in an effort to scale technologies meant to spur innovation in personalized medicine, specifically in gene therapies. Vineti's platform attempts to connect patients with cellular and genomic therapies that may help them, while Deloitte's ConvergeHEALTH system provides analytic services for other parts of the pharmaceutical supply chain (including health systems, life sciences researchers, and IT vendors).


Pfizer says Brexit will cost it $100 million. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is bracing for a $100 million hit as the U.K. exits the European Union, the company says. That's driven by efforts “to meet EU legal requirements after the U.K. is no longer a member state, especially in the regulatory, manufacturing, and supply-chain areas,” said the firm in a recent filing. A number of European drug makers have been drawing up contingency plans (and stockpiling medicines) in the event that Brexit goes through without a broader deal to ensure continued access to their products. (Fortune)

EU clears Sanofi treatment for rare blood clotting disorder. European regulators on Monday cleared the way for French drug maker Sanofi's caplacizumab, or Cablivi, a treatment for the rare clotting disorder acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP). That's a point in favor of Sanofi's acquisition of the Belgian biotech Ablynx, which originally developed the therapy. (Reuters)


Cigna, Express Scripts have spent $201 million on their merger so far. Marriages can be expensive—including corporate ones. Insurer Cigna and pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts have reportedly already spent $201 million on lawyers, bankers, consultants, and various other middlemen as they seek to close their $67 billion proposed merger. (Axios)


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