This is a compiled list of stories that we found interesting. They are from external sources, and we think they provide novel perspectives on the digital health industry at large. Happy reading!
Cerebral Says It Will Stop Prescribing Most Controlled Substances
May 17, 2022
(WSJ): Cerebral plans to stop prescribing almost all controlled substances, expanding an overhaul of its treatment practices in the wake of scrutiny over how it provided stimulants for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, The Wall Street Journal reports. Cerebral chief executive officer Kyle Robertson wrote in an email to staff on Monday that the online mental health company would stop prescribing controlled substances, excluding those in one category, for new patients effective Friday, and for existing patients in October. The company said it would seek to taper existing patients off their prescriptions for controlled substances or transfer them out of Cerebral’s care to an in-person clinician.
FDA rejects antidepressant seen as possible Covid-19 treatment
May 15, 2022
(STAT): The Food and Drug Administration declined Monday to authorize a 30-year-old generic antidepressant as a treatment for Covid-19, dealing a major blow to a small group of doctors who have organized around the pill for months, arguing that it could provide a cheap and accessible way to prevent hospitalizations and death both in the U.S. and around the world.
Moderna CFO in $700k exit after a day
May 11, 2022
(LinkedIn News): The chief financial officer of Moderna is out after just one day on the job — enough to earn him $700,000 in severance pay. Jorge Gomez, whose appointment was announced in April, took up the role on May 9 but left on May 10 after his former employer announced an internal probe involving financial reporting. According to Moderna, Gomez will receive 12 months' salary with his departure but forfeit his signing bonus and bonus eligibility. His former company, dental product maker Dentsply Sirona, said it would not file its quarterly report on time as a result of the investigation.
Pfizer to Acquire Biohaven Pharmaceutical for $11.6 Billion
May 11, 2022
(Yahoo Finance): Pfizer will pay $148.50 a share for all of New Haven, Connecticut-based Biohaven’s outstanding stock, according to a statement Tuesday. For each share of Biohaven, shareholders including Pfizer will also receive half a share of New Biohaven, a new publicly traded company that will retain some compounds in development that don’t use the anti-migraine technology, called CGRP.
With billions in hand from sales of its Covid-19 vaccine and treatment, Pfizer has the resources to diversify beyond pandemic products that may have limited demand as the outbreak winds down. Pfizer will gain the drug rimegepant, sold as Nurtec ODT in the U.S. and Vydura in the European Union, and zavegepant, a migraine nasal spray that has been submitted to U.S. regulators. Nurtec ODT is promoted by media personality Khloe Kardashian.
Mysterious Liver Illness Seen in Kids in US, Europe
Apr. 15, 2022
(US News): Health officials in several countries are investigating mysterious cases of severe liver disease in children, and they think it may be related to a kind of virus usually associated with colds. The U.K. has been investigating at least 74 cases in which children came down with hepatitis, or liver inflammation, the World Health Organization said Friday. Three similar cases in Spain and a few in Ireland are being investigated, the WHO said.
Exercise May Protect Brain Volume by Keeping Insulin and BMI Levels Low
Apr. 13, 2022
(Science Daily, AAN): Studies have shown that exercise helps protect brain cells. A new study looking at the mechanisms involved in this relationship suggests that the role exercise plays in maintaining insulin and body mass index levels may help protect brain volume and thus help stave off dementia. The research is published in the April 13, 2022, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The top 20 pharma companies by 2021 revenue
Apr. 12, 2022
(Fierce): It was a good year to be a pharmaceutical company, especially one that came up with a product to combat COVID-19. Of the world’s top 20 pharmas ranked by 2021 revenues, 12 had at least 10% growth, including five that saw their sales boom at least 40%. No company pulled in more revenue from COVID products than Pfizer. Fueled by Comirnaty, Pfizer nearly doubled its top line. Johnson & Johnson needed a healthy 14% increase in revenue to stay comfortably in front of Pfizer and remain in the top spot, where it has resided since 2012. But that reign is in jeopardy this year, as Pfizer is projecting combined sales of $54 billion from Comirnaty and its oral COVID-19 treatment, Paxlovid.
AMA outlines key steps for advancing telehealth equity
Apr. 8, 2022
(Healthcare IT News): The American Medical Association this week released a report outlining key steps that organizations and policymakers should take in order to work toward equity in the telehealth landscape."Telehealth has the potential to be an important tool for addressing long-standing health inequities among historically marginalized and minoritized communities that have been impacted disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic," said the organization in an issue brief.
US Congress Introduces Bills to Strengthen Pharma Competition, Promote Innovation
Apr. 8, 2022
(Biospace): The efforts made by some pharmaceutical companies to hinder generic competition have drawn the ire of Congress. On Thursday, members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate introduced legislation that targets efforts that have limited competition, which keeps the price of prescription drugs high. These new bills result from a three-year investigation conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that honed in on anti-competitive efforts within the industry that have prevented generic drugs and biosimilars from entering the market which would provide Americans with lower-priced treatment options.
Medicare sticks by decision to limit coverage of a controversial Alzheimer's drug to people involved in clinical trials
Apr. 7, 2022
(Business Insider): Use of Biogen's controversial Alzheimer's disease treatment will officially be limited to a few thousand patients under The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' coverage decision announced Thursday. CMS, which is the largest insurer in the US, laid out its final guidelines for covering drugs that treat Alzheimer's disease using antibodies that target a harmful plaque in patients' brains called amyloid-beta. Under the coverage policy, drugs that are approved through the traditional Food and Drug Administration approval process will be available to all Medicare and Medicaid recipients. But drugs that receive an accelerated approval, like Aduhelm, will only be available to people involved in clinical trials, due to an increased risk of brain bleeds.
Adding Years to Life and Life to Years
Mar. 29, 2022
(McKinsey): Humanity mobilized against COVID-19 at a speed and scale previously unseen. While far from perfect, our success should inspire us to challenge what we think is possible. At its best, our response to COVID-19 demonstrates that when resources and motivation coalesce, scientific breakthroughs and large-scale behavior change are possible in very short periods of time. It’s time to set a new, more ambitious, more relevant goal for human health—a goal that galvanizes across continents, sectors, and communities to support everyone on the planet in adding years to their lives and life to their years. Humanity needs a goal that yields more time with loved ones, more accomplishments, and more time free from cognitive or physical impairment.
Does Social Media Make Teens Unhappy? It May Depend on Their Age.
Mar. 28, 2022
(NY Times): A large study in Britain found two specific windows of adolescence when some teenagers are most sensitive to social media.