Good afternoon, readers.
Apple had its latest product hype-fest on Tuesday. I'll point you to my colleagues who are more in tune with the tech-specific beat on the big picture announcements—but, as readers know, some of the company's most intriguing interests lay in health care. And the new Apple Watch Series 5, with its watchOS6 upgrade, includes some notable additions on that front.
The marquee new feature may be the "Cycle Tracking" app for keeping tabs on menstrual cycles. The application "gives customers the ability to log important information related to their menstrual cycles, and see predicted timing for their next period and fertile windows using the convenience of Apple Watch," says the company.
To be clear, there are other new features as well, including Apple Watch programs to assess ambient noise and its effect on hearing (the appropriately named "Noise" app). But the Cycle Tracking addition, though previously telegraphed, might be the most striking addition.
The app underscores a growing digital health outreach trend tailored towards female customers. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared a digital birth control app dubbed Natural Cycles meant for fertility monitoring (and to no shortage of controversy).
The question, as with so many digital health products, remain—Will consumers ultimately trust such technology, or merely use it as an ancillary, novelty service?
Read on for the day's news.
Google cracks down on fake medicine. Lloyd Minor, Dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, is up with an op-ed on Fortune explaining why he believes it’s so important for tech giants like Google to crack down on misleading health claims and falsely advertised medicine. “Last Friday, Google announced that it would no longer accept ads for ‘unproven or experimental medical techniques.’ This is a welcome first step, and I am hopeful that this action will have an impact and encourage others to follow,” Minor writes. “Left unchallenged, the deceptive marketing we see today could undermine real potential benefits for future generations.” You can read the whole thing here. (Fortune)
Mallinckrodt shares soar following contract manufacturing arm sale. Shares of specialty pharmaceuticals firm Mallinckrodt soared a staggering 85% in Tuesday trading after the company announced it would sell its drug manufacturing arm to a private equity firm. The subsidiary, BioVectra, will be sold to H.I.G. Capital in a deal that could be worth some $250 million. The sale comes as Mallinckrodt reckons with a number of lawsuits related to its alleged role in the opioid epidemic—and a thirst for quick cash. (Wall Street Journal)
THE BIG PICTURE
Gavi Vaccine Alliance, others praised with Lasker biomedical research awards. The Lasker Foundation has announced its latest round of award recipients—one of the most respected honors within the biomedical community. This year, winners include the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was singled out for its work to immunize children in some of the world’s poorest regions from infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
Commentary: To Lower Health Care Costs, Look to International Innovations, by Vijay Govindarajan
Everything Announced at the Apple Event Today, by Don Reisinger
How the Energy Industry Is Using Data to Decarbonize Itself, by Fortune Editors
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