Situational awareness: A lawyer representing four members of the Sackler family — which controls Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin — told Reuters that the family wants to settle. Purdue currently faces more than 2,000 lawsuits related to its role in the opioid epidemic.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Trump administration announced a new set of primary-care payment models yesterday, an attempt to incentivize doctors to produce better health outcomes.
Between the lines: There are very few subjects in health care that are simultaneously bipartisan, boring and important, but value-based payment reform is one of them.
How it works: Yesterday's announcement includes 2 types of models: one aimed at smaller primary-care practices, and another aimed at larger practices and health systems.
The bottom line: This is clearly the direction that Azar wants to head — and not just in Medicare. "This initiative is specifically designed to encourage state Medicaid programs and commercial payers to adopt similar approaches," he said in a speech.
Go deeper: Stat News has more details on the models.
There was a telling exchange in this month’s meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission that pours some cold water on the fervor to move toward a system that pays hospitals and doctors for how well they take care of patients, instead of how many tests and services they order, Axios's Bob Herman writes.
The buzz: MedPAC was weighing a proposal that would force all doctors to participate in a Medicare accountable care organization. A transcript of the meeting, flagged by the Health Care Blog, revealed that health economist and MedPAC vice chairman Jon Christianson was worried about that idea.
The bottom line: We are still in a nascent stage of new health care payment models, but it's not a slam dunk they will meaningfully lower costs or improve quality.
In 2018, a record 59 new drugs were launched — a portfolio that makes it clear that development is increasingly geared toward specialty drugs, according to a new IQVIA report.
Small biopharmaceutical companies are playing an increasing role in the R&D ecosystem.
Big Pharma is spending a huge amount on R&D. The top 15 largest companies spent more than $100 billion on R&D for the first time last year.
Photo: Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Rochester Drug Cooperative may become the major drug distributor to face criminal charges over the opioid epidemic, the New York Times reports.
Other major distributors are involved in other civil lawsuits across the country.
The three largest distributors failed to adequately monitor suspicious opioid orders at the onset of the epidemic, and have since failed to build systems that prevent abuse, NYT writes.
The whole point of artificial-intelligence systems is that they can learn — but they still have to start somewhere. And the nascent field of health care AI is still focused on those early building blocks, Axios' Sam Baker writes.
Google has a leg up on some of its competitors, because of the data it already collects through search and Gmail, NPR reports.
On top of that, Google is working with researchers at Duke and Stanford to recruit volunteers — the goal is to get 10,000 of them — who contribute far more data.
Go deeper: A blind spot for medical AI
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