From Bloomberg

Trump Taps Slaoui, Gen. Perna For ‘Warp Speed’ Vaccine Project

May 13, 2020

President Donald Trump plans to name Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star U.S. general, to lead a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, two people familiar with the matter said.

Slaoui, 60, and Perna will oversee the initiative known as Operation Warp Speed, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement expected later Wednesday. Slaoui will work on a volunteer basis.

President Donald Trump plans to name Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star U.S. general, to lead a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, two people familiar with the matter said.

Slaoui, 60, and Perna will oversee the initiative known as Operation Warp Speed, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement expected later Wednesday. Slaoui will work on a volunteer basis.

The Trump administration project seeks to produce 300 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year, hastening development by simultaneously testing many different candidates and beginning production before they’ve completed clinical trials….

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The Problem With the FDA’s Quick-Approval Process for Drugs

March 27, 2020

One in 10 babies in the U.S. is born premature, with elevated rates of disability and death. For almost a decade, a drug called Makena has been used to reduce the risk of further instances of early delivery for women who’ve previously given birth prematurely. The medicine, approved in 2011 under the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated process, contributed more than $300 million of annual sales for its manufacturer, Amag Pharmaceuticals Inc.

One in 10 babies in the U.S. is born premature, with elevated rates of disability and death. For almost a decade, a drug called Makena has been used to reduce the risk of further instances of early delivery for women who’ve previously given birth prematurely. The medicine, approved in 2011 under the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated process, contributed more than $300 million of annual sales for its manufacturer, Amag Pharmaceuticals Inc.

New research calling into question how well the drug works is now prompting the FDA to consider delisting Makena—a rare step for an approved treatment. For the women in a follow-up study required by the FDA, released last year, Makena did not decrease repeated preterm births. “To see these women and their families have to go through this experience multiple times is heartbreaking,” says Michal Elovitz, a physician and director of the Maternal and Child Health Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “They want to know why and why it didn’t work. And the only answer we have for them is we have to figure that out….”

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Walmart Takes on CVS and Amazon With Low-Price Clinics

February 26, 2020

The main drag of Calhoun, Ga., a town of about 16,000 an hour’s drive north of Atlanta, is dotted with pawnshops, liquor stores, and fast-food joints. Here, as in thousands of other communities across America, the local Walmart fulfills most everyday needs—groceries, car repairs, money transfers, even hair styling. But now visitors to the Calhoun Walmart can also get a $30 medical checkup or a $25 teeth cleaning, or talk about their anxieties with a counselor for $1 a minute.

The main drag of Calhoun, Ga., a town of about 16,000 an hour’s drive north of Atlanta, is dotted with pawnshops, liquor stores, and fast-food joints. Here, as in thousands of other communities across America, the local Walmart fulfills most everyday needs—groceries, car repairs, money transfers, even hair styling. But now visitors to the Calhoun Walmart can also get a $30 medical checkup or a $25 teeth cleaning, or talk about their anxieties with a counselor for $1 a minute.

Prices for those services and more are clearly listed on bright digital billboards in a cozy waiting room inside a new Walmart Health center. Walk-ins are welcome, but most appointments are booked online beforehand. No insurance? No problem. Need a lab test on a Sunday? Sure thing….

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Patients, Insurers Seen as Biggest Winners in Surprise Medical Bill Deal

December 11, 2019

Congress is closing in on a deal that could shield patients from surprise medical bills, eliminating a source of frustration for Americans who face unexpected charges from emergency care and other procedures.

The question for the health-care industry is whether that fix might have broader implications for overall medical prices.

Congress is closing in on a deal that could shield patients from surprise medical bills, eliminating a source of frustration for Americans who face unexpected charges from emergency care and other procedures.

The question for the health-care industry is whether that fix might have broader implications for overall medical prices.

The new proposal advanced this week by bipartisan committee leaders would remove patients from disputes among insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals. It would apply in emergencies and other circumstances where patients can’t avoid bills from physicians who don’t accept their insurance. In those situations, patients would have to pay only what they would owe to an in-network provider for the same service….

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Cigna CEO Says Health Insurer Is Open to More Acquisitions

November 20, 2019

Cigna Corp. is open to making more acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer David Cordani said, almost a year after the health insurer bought drug-benefit manager Express Scripts.

An expected $8 billion in free cash flow in 2020 should give Cigna “strategic optionality,” Cordani said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s David Westin at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday.

Cigna Corp. is open to making more acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer David Cordani said, almost a year after the health insurer bought drug-benefit manager Express Scripts.

An expected $8 billion in free cash flow in 2020 should give Cigna “strategic optionality,” Cordani said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s David Westin at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday….

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