Good morning ... CVS has finally gone too far — literally.
Today's Vitals is 648 words, or a less than 3-minute read.
UnitedHealth's headquarters in Minnesota. Photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images
If you own stock in UnitedHealth Group, you essentially own a slice of a private-sector empire — and a very profitable one at that.
And yet, United's stock price fell by 2.3% yesterday after the company released its second-quarter earnings.
The big picture: UnitedHealth remains the most financially powerful private entity in the U.S. health care system.
And that market power also leads to political power.
The bottom line: Wall Street's reactions shouldn't obscure just how much power UnitedHealth Group has and continues to accumulate.
American politicians love to say they'll let Americans import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. But there's a problem: Canada.
Canadian officials' internal briefings say that the country "does not support actions that could adversely affect the supply of prescription drugs in Canada and potentially raise costs of prescription drugs for Canadians," according to documents obtained by Reuters.
Importation into the U.S. would fit that bill. If we really did begin importing large quantities of drugs from Canada, its domestic supplies could shrink.
There are other problems, too, despite importation's political popularity here.
My thought bubble: If the U.S. wants to set some standards about how much it will pay for drugs, we always have the option of setting our own rules rather than importing Canada's.
A new Harvard study finds that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is among the handful of entities successfully testing a model of value-based care.
How it works, via the Boston Globe: "Blue Cross's payment program gives doctors a fixed amount of money to take care of their patients. When doctors stay on budget and improve care, they can earn bonuses. If not, they can be penalized."
And it works: The Massachusetts Blues' program was associated with a 12% savings, while quality held steady or improved, according to the Globe.
Dramamine has a pretty good corner on the market for motion-sickness drugs. Let's say you want to sell a competing drug. You're going to have to do clinical trials — and that means you're going to have to get a lot of people seasick.
That's the challenge Vanda Pharmaceuticals took on, when it sent 126 participants with a history of motion sickness out into the Pacific, according to a fun Bloomberg story about this process.