- Ben Olthoff
Welcome to Dispensed, Business Insider’s weekly healthcare newsletter, and happy August! I hope everyone’s taking the month to do some much-deserved relaxing. It felt like a politics-heavy week for us here on the BI healthcare desk.
For starters, we spent our week running around covering some of the proposed rules coming out of the Trump administration (hello, drug importation and hospital price transparency), as well as following along with the M&A news of the week with Mylan combining with Pfizer’s generics business.
But arguably more importantly, I want to get started with a really great follow up to some reporting we did last week.
Last Friday, Emma Court reported that some families were having a hard time getting access to Zolgensma, the $2.1 million treatment for spinal muscular atrophy that was approved in May.
This week, Emma heard from some of the families that their insurance has approved the treatment. Since publishing last Friday, Aetna and Anthem have reversed their decisions and will now pay for the treatment.
While this kind of impact is tremendous, moments like this always make me wonder what’s going to happen when reporters aren’t around to cover every instance of patients facing the choice of footing the bill themselves when insurers aren’t willing to pay.
- Samantha Lee/Business Insider
The $1.2 trillion pharma industry has ambitions for AI technology, but ‘people are ignoring’ a lot of its uses
- Drug discovery is one of the most significant areas of promise for AI in data-rich healthcare, but experts warn that too much hype is risky.
- Biotech Moderna has since its launch taken a tech-forward approach to health solutions, including developing personalized therapies, and modeling variables such as clinical trial duration.
- This article includes an overview of AI in health, including the top three trends to watch, and how biotech Moderna applies AI to free up scientists to make discoveries.
This piece from Emma Court was part of a larger series about how AI is taking over every aspect of business – healthcare included. You can read some of the other dispatches from our colleagues across the newsroom here.
Recently, Business Insider had CVS Health Chief Marketing Officer Norman de Greve in to talk about how the newly combined healthcare giant that now includes a health insurance business, is positioning itself.
It got me thinking a lot about what CVS puts in its stores.
CVS wants to change where millions of Americans go when they get sick. Here’s how it plans to get them in the door in the first place.
- CVS Health operates 10,000 pharmacies, where you can buy soda and candy, and also pick up a prescription. The company recently acquired the health insurer Aetna, too.
- Five years ago, CVS stopped selling tobacco products, as the company increasingly focused on the healthcare part of its business. But a top company executive told us CVS won’t stop selling soda or other unhealthy food any time soon, even as the company increasingly provides medical care in its stores.
- We spoke with CVS Chief Marketing Officer Norman de Greve about how CVS is working to balance what customers want with what’s good for their health.
My colleague on the advertising reporting team, Tanya Dua, came out of the conversation with de Greve’s perspectives on the advertising holding company model and why he thinks they need to become more integrated companies.
Speaking of the healthcare moves taken by the Trump administration in the past few weeks, Clarrie Feinstein spent time looking into the companies that stand to benefit from the administration’s plans to shake up the massive kidney-care market.
Trump wants to reshape the $114 billion kidney-care market. Here are the 6 companies vying to benefit from the disruption.
- The Trump Administration recently announced plans to reshape how people get care for kidney disease by pushing for more people to get care at home, rather than in special centers.
- People whose kidneys don’t work properly can undergo a treatment called dialysis to clean their blood. Currently, just 12% of patients get dialysis at home in the US.
- President Donald Trump issued an executive order on kidney care earlier this month. The administration aims to have 80% of patients with kidney failure either getting home-based care or receiving transplants by 2025.
- Right now, for-profit companies Fresenius Medical Care and DaVita control a large portion of the kidney-care market. They largely operate centers where people go three times a week to get dialysis.
- A slew of companies are seeking to disrupt the market by offering cheaper and more convenient care at home. They could benefit from Trump’s executive order and related policies.
Also, I wanted to highlight a video our colleagues on the Business Insider Today did on the high cost of insulin. Business Insider’s visual features editor Rachel Gillett, who has type 1 diabetes, joined in on a caravan of other people with diabetes going to Canada to get access to cheaper insulin without a prescription. There, they were able to pick up vials of insulin that normally cost hundreds of dollars without insurance in the US for around $30-$40.
You can watch the full video here.
In blood-sugar related news, I have sitting at my desk a continuous glucose monitor that I’m set to try out. CGM pros, blood-sugar-tracking enthusiasts, anything I should know before I strap it on? I’ve been thinking about using it as part of some training for the New York Marathon later this year. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thoughts? Tips? You can reach the whole team at email@example.com.