The sky has been falling recently for Huawei, the Chinese tech firm that has been accused of having ties to the Chinese government. The U.S. government has been urging companies to stop working with Huawei, and recently, Google announced that it would pull Huawei’s Android license. It later backed off that and gave the Chinese company a 90-day extension to issue updates to user devices. The Android ban would allow Huawei to continue using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version of the OS, but it wouldn’t have access to the Google Play store, Gmail, YouTube, and other features.A memo from ARM seen by BBC has allegedly instructed all employees of the chipmaker to stop working with ARM. The memo said for all employees to halt “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei and its subsidiaries. The move was made to comply with the U.S. trade clampdown on Huawei.The memo noted that ARM hardware contained US-origin technology and as a result of that, ARM believes the Trump administration ban impacts it. While Huawei might have survived losing the ability to build smartphones and tablets using the full Android OS and might survive losing the ability to sell computers with Windows on them, losing access ARM chips and technology could be an “insurmountable” blow to Huawei operations says one analyst.Huawei would be unable to develop its own chips as many of them it builds use ARM technology inside that it licenses. ARM currently has eight offices in the U.S. and 6,000 workers. Other than issuing a statement that said it was “complying with all of the latest regulations set forth by the US government” ARM declined any further statement on the topic. Huawei has offered no comment at this time.
Among other things, Tesla reports having spent $920 million during its first quarter to pay off a bond, contributing to its Q1 figures. As well, the company reports that its aforementioned non-recurring items had a negative impact on net loss to the tune of $188 million. Tesla boasts that its Model 3 was the best-selling premium car in the United States during its first quarter — it trumped the second best-selling model by nearly 60-percent. The company produced around 63,000 Model 3 units during this quarter, a 3-percent increase over the last quarter.According to Tesla, the company saw only a ‘modest’ increase in production rate primarily because of production process changes, an unspecified supplier limitation, and having fewer working days. Tesla focused on building Model 3 cars for customers in Europe and China during the first half of the quarter, followed by builds for US markets in the quarter’s second half.“This wave of quarter-end deliveries in the US, China and Europe meant that even short delays caused deliveries to be deferred to Q2,” Tesla explained. Model S and Model X deliveries during Q1 dropped to 12,100 units in Tesla’s first quarter, a decline said to have been caused, in part, by the federal EV tax credit reduction that took effect at the beginning of the year.In regards to its outlook, Tesla said:Although we are driving towards higher internal goals, we reaffirm our prior guidance of 360,000 to 400,000 vehicle deliveries in 2019, representing an increase of approximately 45% to 65% compared to 2018. Please note that vehicle production will be significantly higher than deliveries, as it takes several weeks to transport cars from California to distant customers, especially in other countries, where they must also be processed by customs. Tesla has revealed its Q1 2019 financial details, reporting a heavy loss of $702 million for the first quarter. The company ended Q1 with $2.2 billion in cash and equivalents, a $1.5 billion drop from the end of last year. Among other things, Tesla reports that it was negatively impacted by ‘non-recurring items.’ The company’s $4.54 billion quarterly revenue fell short of expectations. Story TimelineTesla custom Full Self-Driving Computer is already in all new carsTesla’s latest full self-driving car went for a drive: Watch how it didNew Tesla Models S and X can drive farther before needing to recharge
Also optional is the M Sport pack. That replaces the standard xLine appearance trim’s chrome exterior trim – for the grille bars, tail pipe surrounds, and other detailing – with high-gloss black. If you opt for the 2020 X6 M50i, meanwhile, you get Cerium Grey finish for the grille, mirror caps, tailpipes, and badging, while the M Sport brake calipers are blue. 2020 BMW X6 interiorInside, the focus has been on raising the X6’s luxury credentials. As standard you get climate control and a panoramic glass roof, along with leather, sports seats, and a Sensatec-covered dashboard. Extended Merino leather and BMW Individual Full Merino leather, along with a leather dashboard, are options. You can also add four-zone climate control, and a Panorama glass roof Sky Lounge, which illuminates more than 15,000 different points in the glass to give the effect of a star-filled sky. Six different illumination colors are offered. Thermoelectric heated and cooled cup holders are optional too, as is the glass package that switches out the transmission selector, iDrive Controller, start/stop button, and the volume knob for glass instead. A 1,500 watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System – with a seven channel amplifier and 20 speakers – is another option. You can also have wireless phone charging. BMW hasn’t sacrificed practicality, mind. The trunk holds 27.4 cubic feet normally, expanding to 59.6 cubic feet when the 40:20:40 split rear seats are folded down. For easier maneuvering, there’s the optional Back-Up Assistant in the Parking Assistant Package, along with an optional 360-degree camera view and 3D view. Blind spot detection, lane departure and rear collision warnings, frontal collision warnings, pedestrian and rear cross traffic alerts, and speed limit information are standard. Adaptive cruise control is optional, as is lane-keeping assistance and the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant. A head-up display can be added, while the Live Cockpit Professional with iDrive 7 is standard. That includes a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display and a 12.3-inch touchscreen atop the center console. Two USB-C ports, plus Bluetooth, are included. 2020 BMW X6 enginesBMW’s entry-level engine in the 2020 X6 sDrive40i and xDrive40i is the 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder. That gets 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque: 33 hp and 35 lb-ft more than the outgoing car.In the rear-wheel drive X6 sDrive 40i, 0-60 mph comes in 5.2 seconds, 0.8 seconds faster than before. The all-wheel drive X6 xDrive 40i reaches 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, a 0.7 second improvement over the outgoing model. Top speed is 130 mph with all-season tires, and 155 mph with the optional performance rubber. In the 2020 X6 M50i, meanwhile, the 4.4-liter eight-cylinder TwinPower turbo engine makes an appearance. That packs 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, up 78 hp and 74 lb-ft over the old car. An M Sport exhaust system with adjustable sound is standard. 0-60 mph comes in 4.1 seconds, a 0.5 second improvement over the old version. As with the 6-cylinder, top speed is 130 mph with all-season tires, or 155 mph with performance tires. All three cars use an eight-speed Sport Steptronic transmission, which can tap into navigation and cruise control radar data to proactively shift to suit the upcoming road conditions. As for the xDrive system, that’s rear-wheel biased for more sporty driving. The X6 M50i gets an electronically controlled rear M Sport differential as standard – optional on the X6 xDrive40i – that can adjust traction to the right and left rear wheels according to grip. All X6 use a double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension setup, with Dynamic Damper Control as standard. The Dynamic Handling Package, which adds active roll stabilization and rear-wheel steering, is optional. Finally, there’s optional two-axle air suspension with automatic self-leveling, that can adjust ground clearance across 3.2-inches. An Off-Road Package combines that with the M Sport rear differential. 2020 BMW X6 pricing and availabilityBMW says the new 2020 X6 will begin production in August of this year, with the SUV arriving in dealerships from November 2019. It’ll be priced from $64,300 for the X6 sDrive40i, from $66,600 for the X6 xDrive40i, and from $85,650 for the X6 M50i. All will be subject to $995 destination. BMW has revealed the 2020 BMW X6, and if you like your SUVs to have a coupe-like roofline and up to 523 horsepower, you’re in luck. The crossover that BMW insists is actually a category-creating Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) gets bolder styling, a fancier interior, and a new illuminated grille. 2020 BMW X6 Gallery It may not seem like it, but it’s been more than a decade since BMW launched the first-generation X6. Since then – and with two generations under its belt – the Sports Activity Coupe has sold more than 443,000 units around the world. Now it’s time for the third-generation. 2020 BMW X6 exteriorThe 2020 X6 has grown in size, being an inch longer – with 1.6-inches more in the wheelbase – and 0.6-inches wider. Height, though, is down almost an inch. The styling is a riff on the familiar: a low, swooping roofline that offsets the standard 20-inch wheels nicely. 21- and 22-inch staggered wheels are optional. BMW’s designers have given the rear of the roofline a double-bubble form, with twin spoilers atop the steeply-sloped rear glass. A second spoiler is created where the rear fender arches join the hatch itself. However it’s the grille that’s most dramatic. AdChoices广告It’s the first time the BMW illuminated kidney grill has been offered, and it’ll be optional on the 2020 X6. It glows when you unlock or lock the car, or can be switched on or off manually. It’s also part of the daytime running lights – connected to the slimline Adaptive Full LED headlamps – and so can stay lit while the X6 is in motion. At the rear, L-shaped taillights have been added.
Virtual reality has been touted as the next big wave of computing but it hasn’t exactly taken off. One of the reasons is the cost of owning VR equipment both for mere consumption but especially for content creation. The other is that there hasn’t been any compelling use case for it beyond games and entertainment.At its Microsoft Inspire partner conference, the technology company demonstrated one potential use for the technology. Imagine giving a talk to an international audience, many of whom can’t be there in person or, at times, even may not speaking the native language either. Instead, you can have a VR avatar that looks exactly like you but also speaks Japanese, Spanish, or any other language the audience understands.This is what Microsoft proposes using a chorus of its technologies and services. There’s HoloLens for experiencing the VR world, Azure cloud for AI, and its neural text-to-speech engine to make the translations from English to Japanese.AdChoices广告Having a digital counterpart can be relatively easy but creating one that really resembles the original can still require specialized equipment. Microsoft’s Mixed Reality capture studio is one such solution and it will most likely market a complete package to businesses in the near future. Holograms performing on stage in lieu of the unavailability of certain personalities isn’t unheard of but, given the context, it isn’t always considered appropriate either. That doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t room for such holograms in the near future. Microsoft seems to have thought of a use case that takes advantage of its various technologies, like HoloLens and Azure, to create an exact replica of a live person, except that it speaks a different language from the original speaker.
Today’s headlines include reports about state efforts to implement the health law. Kaiser Health News: Armed With Bigger Fines, Medicare To Punish 2,225 Hospitals For Excess ReadmissionsKaiser Health News staff writer Jordan Rau reports: “Medicare will levy $227 million in fines against hospitals in every state but one for the second round of the government’s campaign to reduce the number of patients readmitted within a month, according to federal records released Friday” (Rau, 8/2). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: State Premium Watch: Pricing In The New Insurance MarketplacesKaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: “One of the biggest questions about Obamacare is whether its new consumer protections might lead to higher costs for some people buying coverage on their own — or through small groups — when they purchase it via the online insurance marketplaces that open for enrollment Oct. 1” (Galewitz, 8/4). Read the premium watch.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Physician Payments Sunshine Act Goes Into Effect Without Initial ConcernsNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Kelsey Miller reports on the Sunshine Act: “The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, an Affordable Care Act provision requiring doctors and medical companies to disclose their financial relationships, went into effect Aug. 1. Physicians say they are now working to find a balance between necessary transparency and what some perceive to be burdensome filing” (Miller, 8/5). Check out what else is on the blog.Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend news headlines, including reports about House Republicans’ 40th effort to undo the health law and the Sunday talk show debate about linking a government shutdown to the threat of defunding the health law.The New York Times: Health Care Law Raises Pressure On Public UnionsCities and towns across the country are pushing municipal unions to accept cheaper health benefits in anticipation of a component of the Affordable Care Act that will tax expensive plans starting in 2018. The so-called Cadillac tax was inserted into the Affordable Care Act at the advice of economists who argued that expensive health insurance with the employee bearing little cost made people insensitive to the cost of care. In public employment, though, where benefits are arrived at through bargaining with powerful unions, switching to cheaper plans will not be easy (Taylor, 8/4).The New York Times: G.O.P. Governors Warn Party Members In Congress Not To Shut GovernmentWorried about the potential impact on the fragile economies in their states, Republican governors this weekend warned their counterparts in Congress not to shut down the federal government as part of an effort to block financing for President Obama’s health care law (Martin, 8/4).The Wall Street Journal: GOP Leaders Signal Health-Care Card Not In Play In Budget BattleTwo top House Republicans suggested Sunday that they don’t plan to use the threat of a partial government shutdown this fall to demand a repeal of President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul. Many rank-and-file Republicans have pledged to block any bill funding the government for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 if it includes funds to implement the health-care law. GOP leaders, however, have appeared wary of using the health-care legislation as a negotiating tool as Washington nears another fiscal crisis (Peterson, 8/4).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Democratic Governors Fret About Health Care Law, But Say Readiness Favors Them in 2014Democratic governors say they are nervous about getting the new federal health care law implemented but add they will be better positioned in next year’s elections than many of their Republican counterparts who have resisted the far-reaching and politically polarizing measure. Several of the 12 Democratic governors shared that sense of nervousness-veiled-by-optimism at the National Governors Association meeting Saturday in Milwaukee (8/3).The Washington Post: Contractors Hoping To win Work Marketing Health Care OptionsWith the technical part of building state and federal health insurance exchanges mostly complete, contractors are now hoping to find work communicating with potential customers. Companies from Adobe to Maximus are looking to work that will involve first-hand interaction with citizens, meaning they must prepare to combat misinformation and boil down complex decisions (Censer, 8/2).CNN: Obamacare Battle Heads To StatesDoes this sound familiar? The summer before campaigning begins in earnest for midterm congressional elections, activists hit the road to wage war on President Barack Obama’s health care ideas. If August 2013 is starting to shape up like August 2009 – that steamy month of angry town halls fueled by the then-burgeoning tea party movement – it’s because the Affordable Care Act remains in the crosshairs for conservatives, whose commitment to repealing the law endures (Liptak, 8/2).The New York Times: Colorado Presses For Uninsured To Enroll Television commercials have already run suggesting that buying health coverage through the state’s new insurance market, Connect for Health Colorado, will feel like winning the World Series. … This is Colorado, five months before the central provisions of President Obama’s health care law take effect: a hive of preparation, with a homegrown insurance market working closely with state agencies and lawmakers to help ensure the law’s success (Goodnough, 8/2).The New York Times: Missouri Citizens Face Obstacles To Coverage Looking for the new health insurance marketplace, set to open in this state in two months, is like searching for a unicorn. The marketplace, or exchange, being established by the federal government under President Obama’s health care law has no visible presence here, no local office, no official voice in the state and no board of local advisers. … While states like Colorado, Connecticut and California race to offer subsidized insurance to their citizens, Missouri stands out among the states that have put up significant obstacles (Pear, 8/2).Los Angeles Times: California’s Latinos Critical For Success Of ObamacareCalifornia has launched a major campaign to educate Latinos about Obamacare before enrollment begins Oct. 1. More than half of Latinos have little or no understanding of the Affordable Care Act, according to a recent survey by Latino Decisions, an opinion polling organization. The percentage is higher among those who speak mostly Spanish, the survey found (Gorman, 8/1).Politico: Poor Attendance At Obamacare Event In VirginiaA race to define Obamacare to the masses began today between the stacks at the Centreville Library. Over pizza in Decatur, Texas. And with a glass of wine in Naples, Fla. Dozens of communities around the country hosted pro-Obamacare events, convened by the president’s foot soldiers at Organizing for Action. The series is the first salvo in what is fixing to be a month of high-stakes health care spin. When Congress returns from its summer recess in early September, there will be less than a month until Obamacare’s most sweeping coverage programs start signing up customers in new health insurance exchanges (Cheney, 8/5).The Wall Street Journal: Insider-Trading Probe Caught In A Washington KnotFederal investigators interviewed a Senate staff member for four hours Thursday, part of a wide-ranging insider-trading probe into how a major change in U.S. health-care policy leaked to Wall Street traders before it was announced. But Thursday’s interview with Rodney Whitlock, a health-care aide to Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), took place only after delays over the terms of the questioning, according to people familiar with the matter. In addition, Mr. Whitlock didn’t answer several questions from investigators that touched on a parallel investigation by Mr. Grassley’s staff, according to a written statement from Mr. Grassley’s office (Grimaldi, Mullins and Barrett, 8/4).The New York Times: For Medical Tourists, Simple Math Michael Shopenn’s artificial hip was made by a company based in this remote town, a global center of joint manufacturing. But he had to fly to Europe to have it installed. … As the United States struggles to rein in its growing $2.7 trillion health care bill, the cost of medical devices like joint implants, pacemakers and artificial urinary valves offers a cautionary tale. Like many medical products or procedures, they cost far more in the United States than in many other developed countries (Rosenthal, 8/3).The Washington Post: Federal Judge Blocks Wisconsin Abortion Law Through Fall Trial A federal judge extended a preliminary injunction Friday blocking a Wisconsin law that would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics and a mandatory ultrasound before a woman receives an abortion. U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a temporary restraining order on July 8; this injunction extends through the trial about the law’s constitutionality, which is scheduled to start Nov. 25 (Eilperin, 8/3).Los Angeles Times: Federal Judge Keeps Blocking Part Of Wisconsin Abortion LawThe order, issued Friday by U.S. District Judge William Conley, stems from a lawsuit that Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed last month. The groups claim the law would shut two of the state’s four abortion clinics because providers at those facilities, in Appleton and Milwaukee, lack admitting privileges (Mueller, 8/3).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Nearly Dismantled By Turmoil, Criminal Probe, Texas’ $3B Cancer-Fighting Eyes ComebackGone are the large conferences, big pharma funding, Nobel laureates and lavishly paid state officials who vowed scientific breakthroughs from Texas’ unprecedented $3 billion crusade against cancer. What’s left of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas isn’t flashy, but that’s precisely the goal for an agency regaining its footing after a year of turmoil and an ongoing a criminal investigation (8/4). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. First Edition: August 5, 2013
The Associated Press: Obama On VA: Much Yet To Do The Denver Post: Vets In Denver See Cuts In Caregiver Funds Veterans Affairs Department officials are investigating whether patients have been exposed to antibiotic-resistant superbugs from tainted medical scopes in the wake of several hospital outbreaks. The VA said Friday it began looking into the possibility of patient infections in late February after a deadly outbreak was disclosed at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center. (Terhune, 3/13) The New York Times: Progress Is Slow At V.A. Hospitals In Wake Of Crisis In related veterans’ health news – President Obama’s visit to the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital that was the epicenter of last summer’s nationwide scandal highlighted the work that VA must still do to weed out incompetent executives and win back the confidence of veterans. … The president pointed to signs of progress over the past nine months: More doctors have been hired, and waiting times have been cut at some VA facilities. But the focus of Obama’s visit to Phoenix was the problems that remain. The president talked about the need to continue improving mental health care and suicide prevention programs for veterans, as well as changing a culture in which veterans’ needs were too often ignored. (Jaffe, 3/13) A year after explosive accusations that patients had died waiting for appointments at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, the administration’s path to making health care more accessible for America’s veterans remains on shaky ground. (Vlahos, 3/15) The nation’s largest hospital system has made only halting progress in hiring new doctors, replacing incompetent supervisors, upgrading outdated computers and rebuilding trust with veterans, nine months after President Obama concluded that a “corrosive culture” had led to systemic problems at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Now, patients, veterans groups and doctors say delays in receiving care are still common, and they accuse department officials of failing to provide opportunities to see private doctors. Critics, including Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, say far too few senior managers have been held accountable for mismanagement at the hospital in Phoenix and at others around the country. (Shear and Philipps, 3/13) Amid persistent complaints about veterans’ health care, President Obama acknowledged lingering weaknesses Friday in the federal government’s response to the chronic delays and false waiting lists that triggered a national outcry last year over the Veterans Affairs health system. Obama said that while VA Secretary Robert McDonald was “chipping away” at the problem, it was clear there was still more work to do. (Kuhnhenn and Hoffner, 3/14) Fox News: VA Program To Provide Private Care Stumbling Out Of The Gate The Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Denver has generated more appeals than any other VA hospital for denials of financial assistance to those caring for injured soldiers in their homes. The program, intended to help spouses and other relatives provide care to war veterans seriously hurt since 2001, has been growing rapidly nationwide. Yet the Denver hospital and its satellite offices in cities including military-heavy Colorado Springs have reduced the numbers of approved caregivers since May. (Olinger, 3/15) The Washington Post: Obama Visits Phoenix VA Facility At Heart Of Scandal Almost a year after ordering a massive shake-up of the Veterans Affairs Department, President Obama gave one troubled outpost a once-over Friday to see whether his massive staff housecleaning led to improvements. In a trip to the VA hospital in Phoenix, where a whistle-blower exposed the existence of waits so long that dozens of veterans may have died awaiting treatment, Obama declared that his new VA leadership was “chipping away at those problems.” (Parsons and Memoli, 3/13) Obama Visits Phoenix VA Hospital, Says New Leadership ‘Chipping Away’ At Problems President Barack Obama made a visit to the once-troubled veterans’ health facility where whistle blowers triggered a scandal and officials undertook a massive effort to shape up the system. Los Angeles Times: VA Probing Whether Scopes Gave Patients Superbug Infections Los Angeles Times: Obama Tours VA Hospital That Was Site Of Long Waits Linked To Deaths This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
As Medicare Drug Plans’ Premiums Rise, Beneficiaries Should Check Their Options Meanwhile, the number of subsidized Medicare drug plans is dropping because of insurance market consolidation and federal rules discouraging duplicative options — leaving some seniors with fewer options from which to choose. Skilled-nursing facilities are seeking more say in how they contract with accountable care organizations as a new CMS rule for ACOs loosens the coverage policy for some Medicare patients, experts say. Under the ACO Track 3 program, which starts in January, post-acute providers hope to see more gain-sharing opportunities, said Mike Cheek, a senior vice president at the American Health Care Association, which represents SNFs, nursing homes and other post-acute providers. (Sandler, 11/21) Even though health problems forced Denise Scott to retire several years ago, she feels ‘very blessed’ because her medicine is still relatively inexpensive and a subsidy for low-income Medicare beneficiaries covers the full cost of her monthly drug plan premiums. But the subsidy is not going to stretch as far next year. That’s because the premium for Scott’s current plan will cost more than her federal subsidy. The 64-year-old from Cleveland is among the 2 million older or disabled Americans who will have to find new coverage that accepts the subsidy as full premium payment or else pay for the shortfall. (Jaffe, 11/23) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Modern Healthcare: SNF Leaders Wary Of New ACO Rule A federal analysis released Friday illustrates how the Medicare program came to spend $20.9 billion a year on doctor-administered drugs. One-quarter of those drugs cost from $51,000 to $536,000 per person annually, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office, released by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.). The study also said that by 2013 about 332,000 Medicare participants were obligated to pay out-of-pocket costs ranging from $1,900 to $107,000 a year for new drugs in the Medicare Part B program. (Burton, 11/20) The Wall Street Journal: GAO Study Illustrates Cost Of Doctor-Administered Drugs In Medicare The Associated Press: Experts Foresee Big Premium Increases For Medicare Drug Plan With time running out on open enrollment season, many seniors are facing sharply higher premiums for Medicare’s popular prescription drug program. The reason: rising drug costs have overtaken a long stretch of stable premiums. Beneficiaries have until Dec. 7 to see if there’s a lower-cost plan that will cover their medications in 2016. Consumer advocates and experts say it will pay to shop around this sign-up season. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/22) Earlier KHN coverage: Don’t Just Renew Your Medicare Plan. Shopping Around Can Save Money. (Jaffe, 1/15) Also, The Wall Street Journal reports on a GAO study of Medicare’s spending on doctor-administered drugs and Modern Healthcare reports on how skilled-nursing facilities are reacting to a new ACO rule – Kaiser Health News: Fewer Medicare-Subsidized Drug Plans Means Less Choice For Low-Income Seniors
Secret Drug Coverage Deals May Increase Consumers’ Costs Meanwhile, Walgreens continues efforts to strengthen its relationship with the drug wholesaler, AmerisourceBergen; and investors fret over Gilead’s next steps. Reuters: Gilead Shares Look Cheap But Investors Fret Over Growth The Chicago Tribune: Walgreens Builds Stake In Drug Wholesaler In other pharmaceutical news — Walgreens is strengthening its relationship with AmerisourceBergen, the drug wholesaler that supplies its stores, spending $1.2 billion to purchase a 15 percent stake in the Pennsylvania-based company. Walgreens Boots Alliance, based in Deerfield, entered a 10-year deal with AmerisourceBergen in 2013 and started building its stake in the company at the same time. It has options to purchase another 10 percent next year. (Janssen, 3/18) USA Today: Secret Deals May Mean Consumers Pay More For Drugs Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) are trading at ultra cheap levels as investors broadly shed biotech holdings and question what the company could do for an encore after several years of torrid growth. To an extent, Gilead is a victim of its own success. The company, the largest biotech by market value at $120 billion, built upon a leading HIV medicine franchise by adding hepatitis C treatments that revolutionized care for the serious liver disease. (Krauskopf, 3/21) A cancer drug originally discovered in Britain has finally been endorsed for treating advanced prostate cancer before chemotherapy on the country’s state health service in a change of heart by the cost agency NICE. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said on Monday it was now recommending Zytiga, which is sold by Johnson & Johnson, following the submission of new evidence on the drug’s benefits. (Hirschler, 3/21) Researchers are unlocking some of the mysteries surrounding migraines, raising hopes for a new class of treatments. Millions of patients who experience migraines would benefit from better medicines, researchers say. Drugs taken to treat the debilitating headaches don’t work in all patients. Meanwhile, drugs taken to prevent attacks were developed to fight other conditions, like high blood pressure, and have limited effectiveness. (Rockoff, 3/21) The Wall Street Journal: New Migraine Drugs Are On The Horizon NBC News: Americans Mix It Up Too Much With Drugs, Study Finds Secret deals often prompt drug benefit companies to cover brand-name prescriptions when equally effective generic or even over-the-counter medications are available, several drug pricing experts say. These companies, known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), negotiate deals with drug makers that include rebates and other compensation to encourage certain drugs and come up with lists of drugs that their insurance plans will cover. Employers and insurance companies then determine which drugs to encourage on these formularies. (O’Donnell, 3/21) More people than ever are taking bunches of medications and supplements that could interact in ways that make them worse instead of better, researchers reported Monday. (Fox, 3/21) Reuters: UK Cost Agency Backs J&J Cancer Drug In Change Of Heart This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.