Good afternoon, readers.
Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified “Gaming Disorder” as an official mental health condition. Now, the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) is slated to open up a first-of-its-kind health clinic specializing in treatment for teenagers and young adults who simply can’t kick the video game habit.
This is one of those things that may seem silly and easy to brush off. But there’s a reason that major public health agencies are taking it seriously enough to promote new policies—and to invest in actual medical infrastructure.
The Guardian reports that the new NHS facility will be a specialty outfit aimed at youngsters aged 13-to-25 who spend an inordinate amount of time on games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and others.
To be clear, these aren’t cases where kids are just spending a little bit too much time with their black mirrors. This manifests in similar ways to substance abuse and addiction, including, according to the WHO: “1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
Behavioral and technological evolution go hand-in-hand. Perhaps it’s no surprise that medicine has to change in step.
Read on for the day’s news.
Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy, email@example.com
Livongo scores a massive digital health deal. Livongo, a (recently public) startup which uses an internet-connected platform to help manage chronic conditions like diabetes, has scored one of its biggest deals to date, the company says—a partnership with the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB) that covers, you guessed it, federal government employees. The deal will allow federal workers with diabetes to sign up for Livongo's platform (or at least those with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which numbers in the millions and could expand Livongo's customer base by tens of thousands in the coming years).
Watchdog group says AbbVie's Humira, Genentech's Rituxan lead list of unjustified price hikes. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER)—a well-established biopharma industry gadfly that challenges drugmakers' assumptions of just how much economic value their drugs provide—is out with its new shame list of medicines with the most unreasonable price hikes relative to their value. Topping the list? AbbVie's Humira (the best-selling drug in the world and a poster child for how big pharma companies protect their cash cows) and Genentech's Rituxan. Gilead's HIV prophylactic Truvada and Eli Lilly's erectile dysfunction drug Cialis also make the list. (ICER)
THE BIG PICTURE
CDC: STD cases in the U.S. rose to record high in 2018. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says there were nearly 2.46 million cases of STDs reported in the U.S. last year—a record high, according to officials, driven by a lack of local public health funding. The biggest jumps in reported cases between 2014 and 2018 included syphilis (71%), gonorrhea (63%), and chlamydia (19%). (Reuters)
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The Wave of Digital Media Consolidation Isn't Over Yet, by Polina Marinova
Why Did Google Offer Black People $5 to Harvest Their Faces? by Jeremy Kahn
Men Agree That Gender Diversity on Boards Is Important—But They're Sick of Hearing About It, by Emma Hinchliffe
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