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Fitbit Teams Up With Drug Giants to Tackle a Serious Heart Condition: Brainstorm Health

October 17, 2019, 6:48 PM UTC

Good afternoon, readers.

Fitbit is stepping up its partnerships with drug companies to tackle a critical heart health condition: Atrial fibrillation (AFib), or an irregular heartbeat.

This condition, a heart arrhythmia, could cause all sorts of medical problems, including blood clots, stroke, and heart failure. “At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib,” according to the American Heart Association.

Fitbit’s new effort links it with the Bristol-Myers Squib-Pfizer Alliance, which is itself a partnership between two of the largest drug makers in the country. The program seeks to facilitate earlier detection of AFib for patients at an increased risk of stroke using Fitbit’s wearable technology, which can measure a variety of biometrics, the firms announced at the TIME 100 Health Summit in New York.

“Too many people discover that they are suffering from atrial fibrillation only after experiencing a stroke. In fact, some studies suggest that this is true for more than 25 percent of people who have the condition,” said Joseph Eid, head of medical affairs at BMS, in a statement about the new initiative.

Back with more tomorrow. Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy, sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

Novartis breaks Pear Therapeutics partnership. Novartis has always been intrigued by the digital health space—but it's backing off from at least one prominent partnership in the space. Boston-based Pear Therapeutics, which is focused on digital health products for Americans suffering from addiction, will take back full control of commercialization of its reSET technology. “Sandoz believes that Pear is now well-suited to continue to bring these important digital therapeutics to patients, HCPs and payers, and will continue to partner with Pear and support the commercial efforts through a transition period to ensure uninterrupted patient access to reSET and reSET-O," said the copmanies in a statement. (MassDevice)

INDICATIONS

Teva reportedly proposes a $15 billion settlement over the opioid crisis. Reuters reports that generic drug giant Teva has floated a $15 billion settlement over multiple local, state, and federal lawsuits involving the opioid addiction epidemic. Johnson & Johnson and McKesson are also among the drug makers and distributors who may choose to settle with multi-billion dollar payouts. (Reuters)

THE BIG PICTURE

How the China tariffs changed business for one medical device company. My colleague Shawn Tully has a (typically) great story that presents a case study of tariffs' ripple effects. It's an examination of the mid-sized medical products manufacturer Dealmed and how the Trump administration's Chinese tariffs have forced a shift to other countries for manufacturing purposes. Read the whole thing here. (Fortune)

REQUIRED READING

Inside James Dyson's Expensive Decision to Kill His Electric Carby Jeremy Kahn

The Best Medium and Small and Medium-Sized Places to Work Make 'Everyone' Feel at Homeby Lydia Belanger

A Big Supporter of Virtual Reality Content Just Backed Awayby David Meyer

What the Best Workplaces Have in Commonby Hadley Hitson

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