Stories by Bob Herman

Another Alzheimer's drug fails

A Biogen sign in front of its headquarters building.
Biogen's Alzheimer's failure drove its stock down 29%. Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Biogen and Eisai have ended late-stage trials for an Alzheimer's disease drug, less than a year after the pharmaceutical companies painted a rosy picture of the drug's potential. Biogen's stock plunged 29% on the news.

The big picture: It's always a bad sign when clinical trials are discontinued before data are analyzed. It's an even worse sign for Alzheimer's research and raises questions about whether scientists should abandon the idea that the brain disease is "caused by sticky clumps of protein called amyloid plaques," according to a 2016 story by Stat.

Medicare's bountiful new payment system

More than 90% of doctors and other clinicians participating in Medicare's new payment system received bonuses in the first year of its rollout. That includes 71% who were "exceptional," according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The big picture: The goal of this system is to encourage doctors, nurse practitioners and others to provide better care.

The latest on health care executive pay

In this illustration, a green George Washington, as depicted on the one dollar bill, holds a red stethoscope around his neck.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The CEOs of 23 prominent health care companies earned more than $632 million in 2018, based on the actual value of cashed-out stock, according Axios' most recent tally of federal securities documents.

The bottom line: Executives of publicly traded companies get paid mostly in stock, so their incentives are to raise the stock price as much as possible. In health care, that often means contradicting the industry's line of "patient-centered care."

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