Apr 29, 2019

The promise and pitfalls of medical technology

Innovative medical technology is trying to solve the problem of getting people to take their medicine, but its cost and its unfamiliarity has blocked widespread use, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The first digital therapy to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Abilify MyCite, isn't on the market because of providers' and insurers' reservations about the product.

  • Abilify is an old drug used to treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The new product is the same pill but with an electronic tracking component added, which transmits a signal when it comes into contact with stomach acid.
  • Eventually, doctors can view the data collected to monitor whether a patient is taking his or her medicine — serious information for schizophrenia patients.
  • Abilify MyCite costs $1,650 a month.

The big picture: The collision of drugs and medical devices with Silicon Valley has resulted in apps to help treat numerous health care conditions, and there are studies underway for more digital pills to treat cancer and other diseases.

  • But the cost-effectiveness of these new technologies hasn't yet been proven, and until if and when it is, that's a huge barrier to uptake.
  • "I think that these technologies have a lot of potential benefits, but it's going to be a question of evidence — that they can demonstrate value to patients and payers," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the Post.

Go deeper: A blind spot for medical AI

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The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health