Top Stories

  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is introducing today her long-awaited legislation to reduce drug costs, by empowering the Health and Human Services Department secretary to negotiate prices for the 250 most expensive drugs on the market that don’t have at least two competitors. Those prices would be linked to prices abroad, an approach favored by President Donald Trump, and the House is hoping to pass the bill by the end of the year. (NPR News)
  • Major media companies including CBS and WarnerMedia, which owns CNN, TNT and TBS, will no longer run advertisements for electronic cigarette companies like Juul Labs Inc. in the wake of recent vaping-related illnesses affecting people across the nation. Juul ads have run on more than 20 networks in the last two weeks, at a cost exceeding $2.2 million for more than 900 airings on networks including BET, CMT, TV Land and Paramount Network. (CNBC)
  • According to new federal data for 2019, the rate of vaping among teenagers has more than doubled since 2017, with 1 in 4 high school seniors reporting they had vaped in the past 30 days. That figure falls to 1 in 5 for 10th-graders, as federal health officials are working on strategies to meaningfully reduce nicotine use among minors, starting with pulling flavored e-cigarette products from the market. (The New York Times)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership Summit
AHIP National Conferences on Medicare, Medicaid & Dual Eligibles
The MedTech Conference
Seema Verma delivers keynote address at AHIP 2019 National Conference on Medicare.
AHIP National Conferences on Medicare, Medicaid & Dual Eligibles
The MedTech Conference
Bipartisan Policy Center hosts “HIV in America: Insights from the Frontline” with HHS Assistant Secretary for Health 9:00 am
View full calendar

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Health care remains a cash engine
Bob Herman, Axios

The health care industry continued to rake in record-level profits in the second quarter, with its year-over-year earnings increasing by 23%, according to an Axios analysis of 160 companies

Democrats favor righteous rage, GOP the safer bet in Purdue opioids settlement
Sarah Karlin-Smith, Politico

Last year, 49 states and thousands of cities, counties and territories joined in massive litigation designed to punish the drug industry for its role in the opioid crisis.

Beto O’Rourke calls for federal legalization of marijuana, government stipends for ex-offenders
Colby Itkowitz, The Washington Post

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke unveiled his plan Thursday for federal legalization of marijuana, which includes a tax on the industry to fund a monthly stipend to repay people who served prison time on nonviolent marijuana charges.

Dem leader says party can include abortion opponents
Mike Lillis, The Hill

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) emphasized that Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of women’s right to terminate a pregnancy. But there’s no litmus test, he said, that would exclude those lawmakers who feel otherwise.

U.S. Futures, Dollar Dip as Europe Stocks Advance: Markets Wrap
Laura Curtis, Bloomberg

A split mood emerged across major markets on Thursday, with U.S. equity futures dropping and European stocks rising as investors processed a slew of fresh policy decisions following the Federal Reserve rate cut. The euro strengthened versus the dollar.


25 Californians Charged With $150M in Health Care Fraud
The Associated Press

Twenty-five Southern California doctors and others are accused of billing Medicare and other health plans for $150 million in fraudulent charges.

Humana co-founder David Jones Sr. dies
The Associated Press

David A. Jones Sr., who borrowed $1,000 to launch a nursing home company that grew into the $37 billion health insurance and healthcare giant Humana Inc., died Wednesday at age 88.

Medicaid expansion in NC getting revived in House committee
Gary D. Robertson, The Associated Press

A Republican proposal to expand Medicaid in North Carolina advanced again on Wednesday with bipartisan support in the state House. But it’s unclear whether reviving the idea will erode strong opposition from the Senate’s GOP majority.


A Remote Bahamas Medical Clinic Lost Staff, Power, And Water. It Stayed Open Anyway.
Brianna Sacks, BuzzFeed News

“The reality is you can be the best surgeon in the world, but if you don’t get food and water and shelter to these people, they are going to die.”

Court win may not solve hospitals’ site-neutral pay problem
Susannah Luthi, Modern Healthcare 

While hospitals groups have welcomed a federal judge’s ruling against the CMS’ expansion of site-neutral payments for basic doctor’s visits, some analysts see it as a short-term solution that can’t survive as a long-term strategy.

Doctors And Nurses With Addictions Often Denied A Crucial Recovery Option
Emma Yasinski, Kaiser Health News

Dr. Wesley Boyd, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard, has spent years working with state programs that help doctors, nurses and other health care workers who have become addicted to opioids get back on their feet professionally.

Ballad Health sued thousands of patients in poor, rural area
Tara Bannow, Modern Healthcare

The 38-year-old single mom, who lives in Church Hill, Tenn., said she was too overwhelmed at the time to call Ballad Health, and expected the health system would send her to collections on the remaining balance from her visit to its Holston Valley Medical Center emergency department in Kingsport for chest pain.

Pharma, Biotech and Devices

FDA warns testing companies: Don’t tell patients how their DNA influences response to specific drugs
Rebecca Robbins, Stat News

Amid a boom in genetic testing that aims to predict a person’s response to medication, the Food and Drug Administration has been quietly pressuring a handful of companies to stop reporting results to patients about how their genes may interact with specific drugs.

Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan includes special protection for the Sackler family fortune
Renae Merle and Lenny Bernstein, The Washington Post

If lawsuits against the wealthy family aren’t halted, the Sacklers ‘may be unwilling—or unable’ to contribute billions to the drugmaker’s bankruptcy as planned, Purdue said in a court filing Wednesday.

Feds probe manager of McKesson narcotics distribution warehouse in Ohio
Lenny Bernstein et al., The Washington Post

Federal authorities are conducting a criminal investigation of the former compliance officer at a McKesson Corp. warehouse in southern central Ohio, alleging he conspired to illegally distribute powerful narcotics over eight years, according to court records.

Will combo pill catch on in US to prevent heart attacks?
Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press

A cheap, daily pill that combines four drugs has been tested for the first time in the United States to see if it works as well among low-income Americans as it has in other countries to treat conditions leading to heart attacks and strokes.

India Announces Widespread Ban Of E-Cigarettes
Paolo Zialcita and Lauren Frayer, NPR News

The Indian government announced Wednesday a sweeping ban on electronic cigarette products. The decision was made with the intention of protecting young people from becoming addicted to nicotine.

Health IT

FDA unveils new plan to modernize its technology — and make more efficient use of data
Matthew Herper, Stat News

Dr. Amy Abernethy, the principal deputy commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration, is unveiling a three-point plan to radically redirect the agency’s efforts at using computer technology.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Health Care Progress — Hidden in Plain Sight
Jack Kalavritinos, Morning Consult

For the past two and a half years, the mantra by some has been a combination of gridlock, hyper partisanship, toxic tweets, claims of socialist policies and failed repeal and replace efforts. The belief is that Americans need to wait until November 2020 for the next chance at any real progress.

Here’s a better way to do Medicare-for-all
Pete Buttigieg, The Washington Post

Earlier this year, I lost my father to cancer. I make decisions for a living, but nothing could have prepared me for the kind of decisions our family faced as his illness grew more serious.

Research Reports

Nutrition in medical education: a systematic review
Jennifer Crowley, The Lancet

In many countries, doctors are recommended to provide nutrition care to patients to improve the dietary behaviours of individuals and populations. Here, we present a systematic review that aims to critically synthesise literature on nutrition education provided to medical students.

Teen e-cigarette use doubles since 2017
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Data from the 2019 Monitoring the Future Survey of eighth, 10th and 12th graders show alarmingly high rates of e-cigarette use compared to just a year ago, with rates doubling in the past two years.

Morning Consult