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Brainstorm Health: International Women’s Day, Livongo IPO, Shkreli’s Contraband Cell Phone

March 8, 2019, 10:29 PM UTC

Happy Friday, readers—and happy International Women’s Day.

Health care’s gender disparity is no secret. The sector’s top business ranks skew heavily toward male executives; among physicians, there’s a nearly $20,000 annual salary shortfall for women (controlling for factors such as age, experience, and specialties); just a quarter of hospital CEOs are female even though women hold a staggering 75% of health care jobs.

There’s been one bright spot in boosting gender parity (at least in the United States)—the representation of women in clinical trials. Men were once massively overrepresented in such research, likely skewing data on the safety and efficacy of drugs across the broad populace.

But clinical trial representation was roughly at parity (51% male versus 49% female) by 2015, according to a 2017 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report.

Globally, however, the problem continues to persist. Just 43% of clinical trial participants worldwide are women while 57% are men. On International Women’s Day, that’s a discrepancy worth noting—and fixing.

Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.

Sy Mukherjee


Report: Livongo plots an IPO. Diabetes-focused digital health firm Livongo is reportedly planning to go public, according to the Wall Street Journal. The IPO could come before the end of the year, and the Journal reports that the company has hired heavy-hitting underwriters like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan; the public offering could snatch it an overall value close to $1 billion. (Wall Street Journal)


Martin Shkreli is still a thing, apparently. Convicted felon Martin Shkreli is still making news from the confines of prison, where the infamous drug price gouger is serving a seven-year sentence for wire and securities fraud. Reports emerged that the hedge fund manager-turned-biotech executive was using a cell phone from his New Jersey confines in order to operate a pharmaceutical company he helped found called Phoenixus; now, the Bureau of Prisons is investigating the reports, as Shkreli's use of the device could land him an additional year in prison and a fine. (Washington Post)


CDC: Flu season may not have peaked yet. February is typically the peak of flu season. But, this year, we may not be out of the woods quite yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The agency reports that a second wave of severe flu (as in, those that lead to medical visits or even hospitalizations) are on the horizon, and there were nearly 350,000 flu-related hospitalizations between October 1 and March 2. It's still not too late to get a flu shot if you haven't. (CNN)


Exclusive: McKinsey's Global Boss Talks Controversy—and Transparency—With Fortuneby Adam Lashinsky

International Women's Dayby Ellen McGirt

Serena Williams: 'We Must Band Together to Fight for What's Fair'by Serena Williams

14 Powerful Women Reveal Their Superpower at Work—From Sleep to Strengthby Emma Hinchliffe & Devin Hance

Produced by Sy Mukherjee
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