Headlines in the News

The Ghosts of JPMs Past: How 20 Years of Deals, Scandal, and Science Have Shaped Health Care

January 9, 2020

Biotech is celebrating a platinum anniversary next week: 20 years since J.P. Morgan took over the industry’s biggest conference, an annual ritual of brokered mergers, broken promises, and breakthrough science.

The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is more than a venue for deals. It’s a place where fierce arguments break out, where industry memes get made, and where biotech examines its warts and wrinkles.

Biotech is celebrating a platinum anniversary next week: 20 years since J.P. Morgan took over the industry’s biggest conference, an annual ritual of brokered mergers, broken promises, and breakthrough science.

The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is more than a venue for deals. It’s a place where fierce arguments break out, where industry memes get made, and where biotech examines its warts and wrinkles.

With that in mind, STAT decided to look back at the record. What emerged was not just a series of recollections about a conference, but the history of an industry, chock-full of lessons about management, leadership, and communication. Over the past two decades, many of the biggest heroes and villains in the pharmaceutical industry have graced the stages of the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, where the conference has been held since it began 38 years ago under the auspices of Hambrecht & Quist, a now largely forgotten investment bank….

Read the full Stat article

Less Is More for Big Pharma in 2020

January 8, 2020

Drug-price inflation, a source of profit and headaches alike for the pharmaceutical industry, is slowing down. That might be better news for investors than it seems.

As has become customary, drug manufacturers raised the sticker price on many medicines as the calendar turned to 2020. Analysts at Morgan Stanley found 2,167 price increases in the first week of January, up 17% from the same period a year earlier….

Drug-price inflation, a source of profit and headaches alike for the pharmaceutical industry, is slowing down. That might be better news for investors than it seems.

As has become customary, drug manufacturers raised the sticker price on many medicines as the calendar turned to 2020. Analysts at Morgan Stanley found 2,167 price increases in the first week of January, up 17% from the same period a year earlier….

Read the full The Wall Street Journal article

Walgreens Misses Profit Estimates on Pharmacy Weakness, Shares Fall 7%

January 8, 2020

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc’s (WBA.O) quarterly profit missed Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, hit by lower payments from insurers on drugs sold at its U.S. pharmacies, knocking back its shares and those of rival CVS Health Corp (CVS.N).

The company sought to reassure investors, saying it would meet its adjusted full-year profit forecast of roughly flat growth, betting on cost cuts and a harsh flu season.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc’s (WBA.O) quarterly profit missed Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, hit by lower payments from insurers on drugs sold at its U.S. pharmacies, knocking back its shares and those of rival CVS Health Corp (CVS.N).

The company sought to reassure investors, saying it would meet its adjusted full-year profit forecast of roughly flat growth, betting on cost cuts and a harsh flu season.

But shares fell nearly 7% to $55, dragging down those of CVS 2%, as investors worried that the pressure on reimbursement rates from insurers was likely to hurt profits further….

Read the full Reuters article

Hospitals Merged. Quality Didn’t Improve.

January 2, 2020

The quality of care at hospitals acquired during a recent wave of deal making got worse or stayed the same, new research found, a blow to a frequently cited rationale for tie-ups.

The quality of care at hospitals acquired during a recent wave of deal making got worse or stayed the same, new research found, a blow to a frequently cited rationale for tie-ups.

Hospital merger-and-acquisition activity has surged in recent years, with executives involved in transactions making the case that greater size will boost quality with new investments and yield other improvements as deal makers benefit from each others’ strengths….

Read the full The Wall Street Journal article

Drugmakers From Pfizer to GSK to Hike U.S. Prices on Over 200 Drugs

January 1, 2020

Drugmakers including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L) and Sanofi SA (SASY.PA) are planning to hike U.S. list prices on more than 200 drugs in the United States on Wednesday, according to drugmakers and data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

Nearly all of the price increases will be below 10%, and around half of them are in the range of 4 to 6%, said 3 Axis co-founder Eric Pachman. The median price increase is around 5%, he said.

Drugmakers including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L) and Sanofi SA (SASY.PA) are planning to hike U.S. list prices on more than 200 drugs in the United States on Wednesday, according to drugmakers and data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

Nearly all of the price increases will be below 10%, and around half of them are in the range of 4 to 6%, said 3 Axis co-founder Eric Pachman. The median price increase is around 5%, he said.

More price increases are expected to be announced later this week, which could affect the median and range….

Read the full Reuters article

Five Health Care Fights to Watch in 2020

December 30, 2019

Advocates hope lawmakers can beat the odds and move major health care legislation in the new year.

2019 opened with bipartisan talk of cracking down on drug prices and surprise medical bills. But it ended without major legislation signed into law on either front, and a host of other health care battles, including a lawsuit threatening the entire Affordable Care Act, looming over the coming election year.

Advocates hope lawmakers can beat the odds and move major health care legislation in the new year.

2019 opened with bipartisan talk of cracking down on drug prices and surprise medical bills. But it ended without major legislation signed into law on either front, and a host of other health care battles, including a lawsuit threatening the entire Affordable Care Act, looming over the coming election year.

Here are five health care fights to watch in 2020….

Read the full The Hill article