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Hello and happy Friday, readers!
Do you live in an “active” state?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is out with a new report on “adult physical inactivity.” The report was based on a combined effort between the CDC and American states’ various health departments, and the data was amassed via telephone interviews.
The findings? “[A]ll states and territories had more than 15 percent of adults who were physically inactive and this estimate ranged from 17.3 to 47.7%” between 2015 and 2018.
But, as always, there are significant nuances to these ranges based on demographics (and, keep in mind, this is based on self-reported data, which can itself be skewed). For instance, the most active states based on the studies were Washington, Orgeon, Utah, Colorado. D.C. was also among the bunch.
Many southern states, including Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and others, fared much worse in the study. The Northeast also had a high prevalence of physical inactivity.
We’ve reported often on the social determinants of health, and how inequity across racial and geographic lines can literally eat away at someone’s chances of living a healthier and longer life. The new CDC report seems to add to that collection of knowledge.
Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.
The deeply disturbing health implications of a Russian search engine. My colleague David Z. Morris is up with a crucial, and deeply disturbing, story that cuts at the intersection of technology, public and mental health, and basic norms of child protection and decency. David's deep reporting exposes the failures of Russia's largest search engine in preventing the scourge of child pornography. It's an incredible piece of work, and while the subject matter is stomach-churning, it is well worth the read. (Fortune)
Could we see a biosimilar burst in the coming years? As the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference comes to a close, South Korea-based Celltrion is mapping out an ambitious project: a launch of a new "biosimilar" drug every year for the next decade. Biosimilars are essentially the generic versions of often-expensive biologic drugs, and while they've been around in other nations for well over a decade, they haven't exactly dominated the U.S. market (and a lot of that has to do with IP lawsuits and patent-evergreening). The key element to watch out for over the next ten years is whether or not this is just a European and Asian phenomenon. (Pharmaphorum)
There was an $8 billion verdict against a Johnson & Johnson antipsychotic drug. It's been reduced to $6.8 million. Reuters reports that a Pennsylvania judge has cut an $8 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson over allegations that its antipsychotic medication Risperdal could lead to breast growth in men (and that the company failed to warn patients about the side effect) down to $6.8 million. This isn't exactly rare in pharmaceutical jury cases—the extent of the reduction, however, is notable. Both the plaintiffs and the defendants reportedly plan to appeal. (Reuters)
THE BIG PICTURE
Obamacare and the issue of "severability." What makes a provision of a law "severable" from the rest of it? As in, could a statute work if one key component of it were later repealed—and would that change the constitutionality of the underlying law? These are the complicated legal questions at the heart of a major case that the Trump administration and House Republicans are using in an attempt to strike down the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The thinking goes that the repeal of the ACA's individual mandate makes the entirety of the law unworkable and unconstitutional (i.e., the mandate cannot be "severed" from the rest of the law itself.). But a new report from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) casts some doubt on that theory and rebukes the idea that the elimination of the individual mandate would lead to a "death spiral" in these insurance marketplaces. "Going into 2019, insurers reported that the reduction of the penalty to $0 drove premiums up by about 5 percentage points. Nonetheless, premiums were largely steady in 2019, on average, in part because insurers had priced too high in 2018. Despite concerns about the continuing impact of the loss of the mandate penalty, the individual market has remained fairly stable through 2019," wrote the study authors.
We Asked 6 Experts to Parse the China Trade Agreement. Here's What the U.S. Won (and Lost), by Erik Sherman
Alphabet Joins the $1 Trillion Club, by Ryan Vlastelica & Bloomberg
Lessons from a Fugitive: What the Tangled Tale of Marc Rich Tells Us About Carlos Ghosn, by Shawn Tully