Nov 13, 2018

Big Tech's next steps on opioids

Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Tech companies are launching a new partnership today aimed at better coordinating their respective efforts to help fight the opioid crisis.

The big picture: Federal regulators had criticized tech platforms over a proliferation of ads for illegal pharmacies. But the companies have done a lot to rein in those ads and to redirect users toward information about treatment when, for example, they search Google or Facebook for opioid-related terms.

  • This isn’t really a crisis Silicon Valley can solve — addiction is an offline experience.
  • But the industry believes it can help by pointing people toward treatment options and other partnerships, like a joint effort with the Drug Enforcement Administration to promote opportunities for patients to turn in unused or expired medications.

Situational awareness: These companies will be discussing their efforts at an event today (part of which I'll be moderating), beginning at 10 a.m. You can watch here, if you want to.

Separately, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is expected to fill out some more details today about the agency’s new guidelines for prescribing opioids.

  • The agency will focus on the relationship between dosage and addiction, my colleague Caitlin Owens reports.

What’s next: The agency has discussed requiring some common opioids to be offered in limited-dose packaging, more similar to the packaging for a course of antibiotics than a standard 30-day supply of pills.

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Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health