Today's Top News
Global Drugmakers Reach Deal To Produce Low-Cost Versions Of Pfizer’s Covid Drug
Bloomberg (3/17, Paton) reports that 35 “drugmakers will produce low-cost versions of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19” drug Paxlovid “as part of an effort to expand supplies of the highly effective drug in lower-income regions.” Bloomberg adds, “The United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool, which announced the accords on Thursday, said last week that
manufacturers may be ready to supply the first pills by December.”
The AP (3/17) reports, “The Medicines Patent Pool said in a statement that agreements signed with 35 companies should help make Pfizer’s antiviral nirmatrelvir, or Paxlovoid, available to more than half of the world’s population.” The “drugmakers across a dozen countries in Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Eastern Europe will begin producing either the raw ingredients for the Pfizer drug or the
Reuters (3/17, Erman) also reports on the deal.
Media, Marketing & Comms
NewsGuard Partnering With Ad Agencies On Podcast Content Rating Service
Inside Radio (3/17) reports NewsGuard is “reportedly working with several big advertising agencies on a new service that would bring its rating service to podcasting.” NewsGuard “rates the credibility of news and information websites and tracks online misinformation,” relying on humans to rate information. Inside Radio notes that audio advertising agency Oxford Road also recently announced a similar partnership
with AI company Barometer to launch a “new AI-powered brand suitability tool that they say will allow ad buyers to assess the ‘risk profile’ of a podcast and whether it aligns with their brand values,” powered by natural language processing.
Social Media Updates
Amazon’s In-Store Digital Advertising Plans Described
For the latest installment of its weekly “Amazon Briefing,” Modern Retail (3/17, Guthrie Weissman) spoke with “some people with direct knowledge” about Amazon’s plans to sell “in-store digital advertising inventory to sell to brands in its Amazon Fresh stores.” Amazon is “planning on selling ad placements on digital signage its physical
grocery stores beginning in the second quarter of this year, per a document leaked to Business Insider” last month. In addition, Amazon “is reportedly thinking of expanding the inventory to other parts of the shopping experience including smart shopping carts, checkout booths and digital smokescreens on refrigerator doors.” A “big part of Amazon’s pitch is its data,” with anonymous sources saying Amazon has “touted metrics its offering to brands include ad play count, estimated impressions, impressions by geography as well as tracked ASIN sales
Pharma & Healthcare
Invitae Launches Personalized Cancer Blood Tests Detecting Minimal Residual Disease
FierceBiotech (3/17, Hale) reports, “Invitae has launched a cancer blood test designed to detect the minimal residual disease left over from solid tumors to help gauge a patient’s risk of recurrence and track their response to treatments. The company’s Personalized Cancer Monitoring platform includes a set of assays that are tailored to a patient’s particular
tumor.” The test is set “to the cancer’s specific genetic markers by collecting blood and tissue samples and conducting whole exome sequencing.” Then, when “that signature is re-identified in later screenings, Invitae’s blood test aims to spot the signs of the cancer’s return before it can be discovered by standard imaging procedures, giving oncologists time to recalibrate their therapy options.”
Executives At HIMSS Discuss How To Move Toward Consumer-Centric Connected Care
Fierce Healthcare (3/17, Torrence) reports, “During a HIMSS session on designing consumer-centric digital innovations,” CEO and Founder of b.well Connected Health Kristen “Valdes and Matthew Warrens, managing director of innovation at UnityPoint Health, discussed how to move toward more connected care that centers around the patient experience.” Fierce writes that
“the idea of a ‘digital front door’ to create a streamlined consumer experience in healthcare has touched every corner of this year’s HIMSS conference in Orlando, Florida.”
Healthcare Providers Unsatisfied With Healthcare System, Many Considering Leaving Workforce
Healio (3/17, Marabito) reports, “Health care providers said they feel undervalued and unsatisfied with the current health care system, and many are considering leaving the workforce, according to Elsevier Health’s first ‘Clinician of the Future’ report” that “includes survey results from clinicians around the world.” According to the results, “one in three clinicians are considering leaving their current role by 2024.” Furthermore, “71% of physicians and 68% of nurses believe their jobs have changed considerably in the past 10 years, and a majority of clinicians in the U.S. (71%) and the U.K. (66%) believe that their roles in health care have changed for the worse.”
Caregiver Fatigue Growing Concern As Aging Population Grows
Fox News (3/17, McGorry) reports, “Covid-19 has added to caregiver fatigue according to health experts.” This fatigue “occurs when the caregiver of an individual feels physically and emotionally exhausted, often leading to a change in attitude, negative feelings toward the role and the care recipient and sometimes feelings of resentment, according to health experts.”
Now, it is a growing concern as “a record 42 million Americans are caregivers for an aging parent, spouse or individuals struggling with daily activities, according to a recent report.” Furthermore, “that number is expected to grow as the population of Americans 65 and older is projected to grow by almost 50 percent between now and 2040, according to a report in Seniorly.”
Value-Based Care May Help Lower Hospitalizations, ER Visits In Medicare Advantage
Fierce Healthcare (3/17, Minemyer) reports, “Value-based care can drive down acute care episodes such as hospitalizations and emergency room visits among Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, a new study shows.” The research
“found MA members treated by doctors in advanced value-based care models saw 5.6% fewer hospitalizations and 13.4% fewer emergency department visits compared to those treated in fee-for-service arrangements.” The article adds that Humana “has seen notable success within its own member population through value-based care.” In a recent report, Humana “found that the members enrolled in its value-based care programs had a 60% lower risk of readmission after 30 days.”
Nearly 50% Of Hospitals In US Are Racially Segregated, Analysis Finds
PatientEngagementHIT (3/17, Heath) reports that “some 50 percent of hospitals in the United States are racially segregated, meaning the patient populations they serve do not reflect the demographics of their communities, according to the latest analysis from healthcare thinktank Lown Institute.” According to the analysis, “the cities with the most racially segregated hospitals included Detroit, St. Louis, and Kansas City.” The “trend is likely driven by elective care, the researchers added,” finding that “70 percent of hospitals had worse racial inclusivity for elective procedures than for general services overall.”
FDA Approves AbbVie’s Rinvoq As Second-Line Ulcerative Colitis Treatment
BioSpace (3/17, Terry) reports, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved AbbVie’s Rinvoq for adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis) who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more tumor necrosis factor blockers.” Rinvoq is already approved to as a second-line therapy for severe rheumatoid arthritis, active psoriatic
arthritis, and severely active UC, but only “when one or more TNF blockers didn’t work.” This new approval “is the first...for the drug in gastroenterology.”
Endpoints News (3/17, Schloesser, Gelman) reports, “Wednesday’s approval comes a few months after the agency slapped a new warning on the drug after Pfizer’s Xeljanz saw increased side effects, relegating the drug to second-line use in rheumatoid arthritis.”
FiercePharma (3/17, Dunleavy) reports that along with Xeljanz and Rinvoq, “Pfizer’s follow-on JAK med Cibinqo, Eli Lilly’s Olumiant and Incyte’s Opzelura cream all now carry boxed warnings about major cardiovascular events, blood clots, cancer and death related to JAK inhibitors.”
Policy & Regulation
Lawmakers Debate FDA’s Accelerated Approval Pathway At Subcommittee Hearing
STAT (3/17, Florko) reports, “Lawmakers are facing off over the future of the Food and Drug Administration’s so-called accelerated approval pathway, with Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm front and center in the debate.” An Energy & Commerce health subcommittee hearing Thursday, “originally billed as an opportunity to highlight roughly
20 different health policy measures, focused on the future of accelerated approval, which allows the FDA to approve drugs without clear evidence they prolong patients’ lives.”
AMA Urges Congress To Update Medicare Physician Payment System Following MedPAC Report
RevCycle Intelligence (3/17, Bailey) reports, “Following a recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report, the American Medical Association (AMA) has asked Congress to update the Medicare physician payment system to include a stable annual payment rate that keeps up with inflation and practice costs.” In its “letter [PDF] to congressional leaders, the organization expressed concerns about the MedPAC recommendation to continue the freeze on Medicare physician payment rates and the lack of an adequate annual update for the payment system.”
Biden Names Ashish Jha As New White House Covid Response Coordinator
The Washington Post (3/17, Diamond, Wagner) reports that on Thursday, President Biden named Brown University School of Public Health dean Ashish Jha, MD, MPH “to be the next leader of the nation’s coronavirus response, seeking to help Americans navigate their return to work, school and other activities as the United States heads into
a new, if still uncertain, phase of the pandemic.” Dr. Jha “will replace Jeff Zients, the management expert who has steered the Biden administration’s pandemic response for more than a year, the president said.”
The New York Times (3/17, Shear, Stolberg) reports Biden “called Mr. Zients ‘a man of service’ and praised his work to ‘build the infrastructure we needed to deliver vaccines, tests, treatment and masks to hundreds of millions of Americans.’” Meanwhile, public health experts have “praised the selection.”
Thursday's Top Stories
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