Mar 21, 2017

High-priced drug watch: H.P. Acthar Gel

Whitney Curtis / AP

Researchers are questioning the value, effectiveness and prescribing patterns of H.P. Acthar Gel, a drug used to treat multiple sclerosis and other conditions that costs $38,000 per year, Business Insider reports. Medicare continues to pay more for the drug every year even though experts believe cheaper alternatives would suffice.

Why this matters: It's another knock against Acthar and its owner Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, which has routinely found itself in the spotlight for high drug prices. The New York Times and ProPublica have reported about Acthar's soaring price and taxpayer spending since 2012.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.