Good morning. There are sentences, and then there are sentences. This is very much the latter: "The irony is, if we slaughtered our goats, we could do goat yoga."
And on that note, today's Vitals is 735 words, or a 3-minute read.
Pharma CEOs, including AbbVie's Richard Gonzalez, testify on Capitol Hill. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Humira is the world’s most profitable drug, but it’s also a prime example of Big Pharma's business model, as Sy Mukherjee lays out well in a big Fortune story.
The big picture: “These companies became like great big record labels: reliant on talent spotters going out and finding new artists,” SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges tells Fortune.
Details: AbbVie, which now sells Humira, did not invent the drug. It bought the smaller biotech that did.
This is increasingly how the industry works.
The bottom line, per Mukherjee: “Hundreds of millions go to marketing and legal-fortress building, while innovation and scientific discovery — ostensibly the beating heart of the biopharmaceutical industry — is often imported from the outside.”
Photo: Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images
With every passing day, we get more insight into just how willing the health care industry was to let the opioid crisis keep getting worse, as powerful painkillers flooded pharmacies nationwide.
“I don’t know how they can even house this many bottles to be honest,” a Walgreen's employee tasked with reviewing suspicious shipments wrote in 2011, referring to a Florida store that was ordering 3,271 bottles of oxycodone per month — more than 1 bottle per local resident per month.
Callousness in the supply chain: The Washington Post captures this exchange between Victor Borelli, a national account manager for Mallinckrodt, and Steve Cochrane, the vice president of sales for KeySource Medical:
The Post also taps into the sheer difficulty of pinpointing a single villain in an epidemic with many, many enablers:
What's next: Some of these communications were released as part of the large, consolidated civil suit pending before a judge in Cleveland, which is slated go to trial in October if no settlement is reached before then.
We waste more than $30 billion per year on emergency-room care that could be better delivered in a primary-care setting, according to new data out today from UnitedHealth Group.
By the numbers: According to United's analysis of its own claims data, about two-thirds of ER visits are avoidable, and those visits cost on average $1,800 more than they would at the appropriate venue.
My thought bubble:
Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who helped design the Affordable Care Act, isn't on board with "Medicare for All." He said in a Fox Business interview Friday that he prefers the public-option approach outlined by former Vice President Joe Biden.
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