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Brainstorm Health: Civica RX Focus, Alabama Abortion Law, Johnson & Johnson Pipeline

May 15, 2019, 11:48 PM UTC
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Hello and happy hump day, readers!

Civica Rx on Wednesday announced a deal with Danish generic drug maker Xellia to make forms of the injectable antibiotics vancomycin and daptomycin available to partner hospitals, which number in the hundreds. These treatments are used as antibiotics for certain patients with the most resistant forms of bacterial infections and are often in short supply, likely due to manufacturing woes.

This duo of products is just the first in a planned series of 14 treatments that Civica plans to make available to its members in the coming years. Licensing deals appear to be the primary focus at the moment—but perhaps the future could see actual independent drug development (admittedly a far more expensive and risky enterprise for a nonprofit).

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


Johnson & Johnson says it can roll out 10 new drug applications by 2023. Drug giant Johnson & Johnson is setting an ambitious goal for its drug development pipeline, asserting the company will file 10 applications for new drug approvals between now and 2023. The slew of treatment applications will reportedly include everything from gene therapies to RNA-based technology. (Reuters)


Alabama passes a near-total abortion ban. Activists vowed to fight the country's most stringent anti-abortion laws to date on Wednesday as Alabama's governor signed a bill that would effectively ban nearly all such procedures in the state. It would criminalize the procedure and impose a 99-year sentence on doctors who perform abortions—and there are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Even long-time abortion opponents like evangelical leader Pat Robertson dubbed the law "extreme" and said it goes too far. The strategy here is clear, though—the law is meant to force the Supreme Court to reconsider the seminal Roe v. Wade case enshrining a woman's right to an abortion.

Would Medicare for All really "let business off the hook?" Former Vice President Joe Biden (now an official presidential contender in 2020) took a more moderate stance on Medicare for All than some of his rivals, such as Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others, claiming that in part such a program would let employers off the hook for their workers' well-being. CEO Richard Master, a Medicare for All proponent, takes exception to that argument in a piece for Fortune: "I’m one of those employers, and I’m supportive of Medicare for All, but it’s not about being let off the hook. As the founder and CEO of a business that has always provided health care for our employees, MCS Industries, I’d rather pay a predictable, manageable payroll tax to finance health care than pay impossibly high and unpredictable premiums," he writes. (Fortune)


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Produced by Sy Mukherjee
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