Anthem

Federal Judge Blocks $54 Billion Anthem/Cigna Merger

Only a few weeks after a federal court blocked the insurance mega-merger of Aetna and Humana, it’s happened again: Last night, a U.S. District Court judge rejected the $54 billion marriage of health insurance giants Anthem and Cigna. [More]

Chris Wilson

Trump Executive Order Directs Federal Agencies To Scale Back Obamacare; Could Remove Individual Mandate

One of President Trump’s first acts in the Oval Office on Friday was to sign an executive order directing federal agencies to scale back on enforcing and implementing the Affordable Care Act wherever they can, while the new administration and Congress work on dismantling the 2010 law. [More]

MeneeDijk

3 Benefits Your Employer-Sponsored Health Care Could Lose After Obamacare Repeal

With the House and Senate moving forward with their plan to disassemble the Affordable Care Act through a budget resolution, much of the focus has been on the millions of people who would be affected by losing insurance that they purchase directly through an exchange. However, the ACA also has a number of aspects that benefit Americans who receive insurance through their employer, some of which could be at risk if the law is repealed. [More]

Misfit Photographer

Last week, both the House and Senate took the first steps toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act. This morning, a review by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that one approach to repealing this law would result in millions of additional uninsured Americans and higher rates for those with insurance. [More]

photographynatalia

Senate Takes First Step Toward Repealing Affordable Care Act

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the U.S. Senate voted — largely along party lines — on a resolution instructing multiple legislative committees to begin the process of disassembling the 7-year-old Affordable Care Act. [More]

Former Pharma Execs Accused Of Boosting Fentanyl Sales By Bribing Doctors With Sham Speaking Engagements

Fentanyl is an incredibly potent opioid painkiller; it acts quickly and powerfully, but doesn’t last as long as others, meaning its medical application is limited. So if you’re a drug company trying to boost sales of your new fentanyl spray, how do you sell more of a product that very few people have a real need for? You could bribe doctors with paid “speaking engagements,” take them out and show them the “best nights of their life,” all so they write prescriptions for patients who probably shouldn’t be getting your drug. [More]

M

Pediatricians Call On Mylan To Make EpiPens More Affordable

Following reports on the skyrocketing cost of the EpiPen emergency allergy treatment, drugmaker Mylan has been heavily criticized for putting profit over patients. Even the recent expansion of its savings card program has been slammed as being more beneficial to Mylan than it is for consumers. Now, the nation’s largest group of pediatricians are calling on the company to rethink its pricing of the drug. [More]

J.G. Park

International Partnership Created To Speed Up Antibiotic Development

Drug-resistant superbugs are on the rise, increasingly rendering a number of drugs useless even for infections that were once easily treated. At the same time, it’s been more than three decades since medical science found a new class of antibiotics, meaning the bugs may be outpacing the drugs. Today, the U.S. government, along with private organizations in the United Kingdom and stateside, announced a partnership intended to accelerate the development of new antibiotics. [More]

Anyone Can Make & Market A Dietary Supplement, Including Consumer Reports

When you see ads for dietary supplements, there are often scientists in lab coats looking at beakers and flasks, saying science-y things. In the real world, just about anyone with a credit card can make and market a supplement, even one that contains potentially unhealthy ingredients. Just ask our colleagues at Consumer Reports, the creators of the new (totally fake) weight-loss supplement Thinitol. [More]

Misfit Photographer

Government Just Sends Letters To Providers Accused Of HIPAA Violations, Doesn’t Tell Public

The federal government is not as rich and all-powerful as we sometimes think: while the Office for Civil Rights of the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the responsibility of dealing with possible violations of patients’ privacy by medical care providers, it doesn’t have tee budget to post the warning letters that it sends after a single breach online. Is that useful information that the government should know about? Experts say that it is. [More]

Cancer Centers Tripled Ad Spending In Last Decade; Are They Pushing Hope Or Hype?

Cancer Centers Tripled Ad Spending In Last Decade; Are They Pushing Hope Or Hype?

If you watch cable TV — especially basic cable during the daytime — you’ve likely seen your share of heartwarming ads showing off cancer survivors who were saved from the brink by the handsome physicians and nurses at [Fill In The Blank] cancer treatment center. Over the last decade, direct-to-consumer marketing by cancer centers has soared, with much of that spending concentrated in the hands of about two dozen operators. However, some doctors are concerned that these ads aren’t selling patients on the reality, but on the experiences of a few rare cases. [More]

MeneerDijk

Superbug Gene Found For Second Time In U.S.

Weeks after federal researchers confirmed the first discovery in the U.S. of a particular gene plasmid that can make bacteria resistant to an important antibiotic of last resort, a new report has turned up a second stateside instance of the gene. [More]

David Blackwell

One Free Meal From A Pharma Sales Rep May Be Enough To Change Doctors’ Prescribing Habits

Your physician may have any number of degrees, honors, certifications, and other framed pieces of paper mounted to their office walls, but does any of that make them less susceptible to a glad-handing pharmaceutical sales rep who comes armed with some reading materials, free samples, and a lunch charged to their expense account? [More]

Natasha L.

Inspector General: FDA Still Takes Too Long To Recall Tainted Food Products

Five years ago, the Food Safety Modernization Act granted the Food and Drug Administration the statutory authority to compel food producers to recall tainted products. However, a new report from a federal investigator shows that people are falling ill while the FDA sometimes takes months to issue recalls, even after it has evidence of contamination. [More]

Steven Depolo

Ads for prescription and over-the-counter drugs are everywhere, so much so that we’ve become accustomed to hearing and seeing the brand name of a medication immediately followed by a parenthetical containing the generic name [ex: Valtrex (valacyclovir)], but how well have we been paying attention to these ads? Are we now so savvy that we immediately know that Chantix is the trade name for varenicline, or have we become so inured to these ads that we aren’t paying any attention? [More]

Ben Schumin

FDA Issues Warning That Misuse, Abuse Of Imodium Can Cause Heart Issues

Following reports that some opioid addicts are taking potentially lethal doses of over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about the dangers of abuse and misuse of these seemingly innocuous products. [More]

‘Biggest Loser’ Doctor Sues Former Contestant, New York Post Over Scandalous Story

‘Biggest Loser’ Doctor Sues Former Contestant, New York Post Over Scandalous Story

About two weeks ago, several former contestants on NBC weight-loss competition The Biggest Loser spoke to the NY Post, publicly accusing trainers, show staff, and the show’s resident physician, Dr. Robert Huizenga of a variety of questionable behaviors. Now “Dr. H” is firing back with a lawsuit against both the Post and one of the former “losers.” [More]

In Wake Of Superbug Scare, Lawmakers Renew Push For New Antibiotics

In Wake Of Superbug Scare, Lawmakers Renew Push For New Antibiotics

Last week, military scientists confirmed the discovery of a patient in Pennsylvania infected with a bacteria that was not only resistant to many traditional antibiotics, but also contained a gene (MCR-1) making it resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort used when all others are ineffective. In response, Senators are making a renewed push on bipartisan legislation intended to speed up the approval of new antibiotics. [More]