From The Wall Street Journal

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

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

Generic-Drug Approvals Soar, but Patients Still Go Without

November 19, 2019

Record numbers of generic drugs for cancer, heart ailments and other conditions have received U.S. approval in recent years, raising hopes that the new competition would reduce high drug costs. But many of the lower-price medicines haven’t hit the market, a Wall Street Journal review found.

The result: Many patients are forced to take high-price medicines, and a widely touted remedy for reining in drug costs has failed to live up to its promise.

Record numbers of generic drugs for cancer, heart ailments and other conditions have received U.S. approval in recent years, raising hopes that the new competition would reduce high drug costs. But many of the lower-price medicines haven’t hit the market, a Wall Street Journal review found.

The result: Many patients are forced to take high-price medicines, and a widely touted remedy for reining in drug costs has failed to live up to its promise….

Read the full The Wall Street Journal article

Death of CEO Comes at a Time of Expansion, Big Bets for Kaiser Permanente

November 12, 2019

The unexpected death of Kaiser Permanente Chief Executive Bernard Tyson leaves the hospital and health-insurance giant in flux at a time of ambitious growth and it was met with shock by those who praised his work on public health and social issues.

The unexpected death of Kaiser Permanente Chief Executive Bernard Tyson leaves the hospital and health-insurance giant in flux at a time of ambitious growth and it was met with shock by those who praised his work on public health and social issues.

Kaiser, based in Oakland, Calif., gained heft as one of the nation’s largest hospital and health insurance systems with $83 billion in annual revenue under Mr. Tyson. He bet heavily on technology to reach more patients and set plans to expand Kaiser’s reach nationally….

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CVS Boosts Profit Outlook as Aetna Deal Starts to Pay Off

August 7, 2019

CVS Health Corp. posted a second straight quarter of unexpectedly strong financial results, taking another step toward selling skeptical investors on its acquisition of Aetna Inc. as the health insurer drove much of the gains.

A month after CVS laid out to investors a plan to create a health-care giant that drives down medical costs and reaps rewards from a more-efficient health-care system, the company reported higher-than-expected profit and raised its earnings outlook for the year. CVS completed its acquisition of Aetna in November.

CVS Health Corp. posted a second straight quarter of unexpectedly strong financial results, taking another step toward selling skeptical investors on its acquisition of Aetna Inc. as the health insurer drove much of the gains.

A month after CVS laid out to investors a plan to create a health-care giant that drives down medical costs and reaps rewards from a more-efficient health-care system, the company reported higher-than-expected profit and raised its earnings outlook for the year. CVS completed its acquisition of Aetna in November.

CVS said profit in the quarter increased to $1.93 billion, or $1.49 a share, compared with a net loss of $2.56 billion, or $2.52 a share, a year earlier, when it recorded an impairment charge related to its long-term care business….

Read the full The Wall Street Journal article