D.C. readers: Join Axios' David Lawler tomorrow evening at 5 pm ET for a screening of "The Price of Free" and a panel discussion.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The sudden ubiquity of home DNA kits is giving rise to a lot of new clinical potential — and a lot of privacy concerns at the same time, Axios’ Kim Hart writes this morning.
The big picture: “I think there’s a future in which everyone is sequenced, prenatally or at birth, and their genomic data is part of their medical record and is continually analyzed and that information is integrated into your medical care,” NIH bioethicist Benjamin Berkman told Kim.
Drug companies clearly see that potential.
Yes, but: DNA-testing services aren't specifically covered by federal privacy rules, such as HIPAA. They are subject to the FTC’s privacy rules, and some FDA research standards.
States in the Midwest, South and West have the highest proportions of Medicare members enrolled in Medicare Advantage, my colleague Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: Roughly a third of all Medicare enrollees are in MA, a program that has garnered bipartisan support despite its shortcomings, and some Wall Street estimates think MA will be the majority option by 2021.
By the numbers: The state with the highest proportion of private Medicare plan enrollees (57.3%) is Minnesota, although many people are enrolled in "Medicare cost" plans that function as a hybrid between MA and traditional Medicare.
What to watch: Health insurance companies will always aggressively pursue areas where there are a lot of seniors, like Florida and California, but the distribution shows there are pockets of the Midwest and Northeast that could be their next targets.
The Insys trial's latest allegation is that employees of the company often tricked insurers into approving reimbursements for Subsys, a potent fentanyl spray, the Boston Globe reports.
A former company manager testified Friday that employees at the company's "reimbusement center" learned the names of medications that patients needed to have tried and failed before being approved for Subsys.
Why it matters: Insurers would only pay for Subsys if the patient had an active cancer diagnosis, was in severe pain and had tried other painkillers that hadn't worked. This is a way of making sure the drug is only being used for its intended purposes.
The opioid epidemic is most deadly and growing fastest in the eastern half of the United States, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Why it matters: Recognizing how the opioid epidemic presents in each state — which drugs are being used and whether or not the problem is getting worse — is critical to getting the policy response right.