Stories by Bob Herman

FTC forces UnitedHealth to sell part of its DaVita acquisition

The Federal Trade Commission building.
FTC headquarters in Washington. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission approved the $4.34 billion sale of DaVita's physician unit to Optum on Wednesday, a growing division of UnitedHealth Group; but Optum will be required to divest DaVita's large physician operations in Nevada to clear antitrust concerns.

The big picture: The deal, which has been under FTC review for 19 months, allows UnitedHealth to continue its conquest of all aspects of the health-care system — in this case, as a health insurer and care provider.

A quarter of U.S. diabetics ration insulin

Packages of insulin vials and pens on a table.
Rationing insulin could have lethal consequences. Photo: Niklas Halle'n/AFP via Getty Images

Almost 26% of people with Type 1 diabetes in the U.S. rationed their insulin in the past year, a rate that is 4 times higher than other people who have the disease and live in other affluent countries, according to a survey from the nonprofit diabetes advocacy group T1 International.

Why it matters: Stories about U.S. patients dying from rationing insulin have put the drug at the center of the debate on how the country will lower prices for essential medicines.

Big Pharma wants to sell cancer drugs

Pfizer sign
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Pfizer's $11.4 billion takeover of Array BioPharma highlights how eager industry titans are to commercialize cancer medications, making cancer the most in-demand pharmaceutical asset outside of gene therapy.

The state of play: Big Pharma wants to expand cancer lineups because cancer drugs command huge price tags that health insurers and society usually pay for uncritically.