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Brainstorm Health: Xarelto TV Ads, Paid for Staying in Bed, Bristol Myers Celgene Deal

Happy Friday, readers!

I’m running around prepping for our upcoming Brainstorm Health conference (hey, I’ve mentioned that’s happening next week and is going to be awesome, right?) so it’ll have to be a short one this beautiful Friday afternoon.

But here’s something worth noting—Johnson & Johnson is reportedly getting ahead of the regulatory curve to become the first drug company in the U.S. to spell out a treatment’s price in direct-to-consumer television ads, for the blood thinner . The Trump administration has been preparing rules along these lines to mandate the disclosures in pharma ads.

J&J is also addressing one of the main criticisms of the proposed rules—that list prices are often substantially different from what patients actually pay for their medicine. So the company will be including brand name blood thinner Xarelto’s nearly $450 list price, alongside the net prices the company says three in four consumers pay (i.e., somewhere between nothing and $47).

The idea here is to increase transparency (a woefully missing element in American health care). But the natural followup question here is: How much will this actually move the needle on patients’ medical costs, or the high costs of drugs in general? DTC ads, by definition, put the onus on the consumer, essentially making them messengers who then need to bring up treatment choices with their doctors. It’s an open question whether such an indirect series of events can eventually bend the cost curve.

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

Sy Mukherjee


Get paid to stay in bed (for two months). Ah, science, wherein you can get paid to remain in bed for… an uncomfortably long amount of time. German researchers are seeking out female volunteers aged 24 to 55 to, essentially, remain bed ridden for two months in a quest to see how weightlessness affects the human body (for a payout of about $18,522). Sound like a good deal? (Fortune)


Bristol Myers gets a boost for its Celgene bid. Key shareholder advisory boards recommended that biotech giant Celgene investors approve a blockbuster takeover bid by Bristol-Myers Squibb, sending Celgene’s stock up 8% in Friday trading. Both Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis endorsed the deal, leading to activist Bristol shareholder Starboard Value to drop its proxy fight in the matter (while expressing disappointment). (The Street)


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Produced by Sy Mukherjee
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