Good morning. Today's word count is 910, or ~3 minutes.
Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering medication that has become the gold standard of statins, continues to generate roughly $2 billion per year in sales for Pfizer, even though its patent expired eight years ago.
The big picture: Almost all of Pfizer's Lipitor sales now come from China and other emerging markets, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
By the numbers: Worldwide Lipitor sales peaked in 2006, at almost $13 billion, with more than 60% coming from the U.S.
Between the lines: Lipitor is mostly bought overseas but holds a small pulse domestically. Pfizer is on pace to sell roughly $100 million of the statin in the U.S. this year.
The bottom line: Lipitor remains a global money-maker for Pfizer despite generic competition.
Go deeper: Generic drugs aren't always favored
Private investment into the health care sector may bring innovation, but it's also led to revenue-seeking behaviors at the expense of patients, three employees of The Commonwealth Fund argue in Harvard Business Review.
By the numbers: There were nearly 800 private equity health care deals in 2018, with a total value of more than $100 billion.
Surprise medical bills have recently put private equity in the spotlight.
The big picture: Physician practices are a common target for private equity firms.
The bottom line: Price-gauging patients may backfire. "Consumer outrage leads quickly to government intervention," the authors conclude.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Some employers are returning to offering traditional health insurance plans again, as opposed to relying solely on those with high deductibles, Kaiser Health News reports with NPR.
Driving the news: The percentage of companies offering high-deductible plans as the only coverage option is declining for the third year in a row in 2020, per a survey of large employers by the National Business Group on Health.
Employers say that offering plans with no or lower deductibles can be a recruitment tool, and some employees would rather have higher premiums in exchange for more predictable health care costs.
Yes, but: High deductible plans are still popular; 58% of employees with health coverage worked at a company that offered at least one high-deductible plan in 2019, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Our thought bubble: The push of health care costs onto employees via their out-of-pocket costs has been unpopular and untenable, and employers are responding.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics show a gloomy state of the nation's health, particularly in terms of fertility rates and life expectancy at birth, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.
Yes, but: The teen birth rate dropped more than 50% from 2007 to 2017.
An FDA advisory committee yesterday voted to recommend that Makena, a treatment to prevent women from having a pre-term birth, be withdrawn from the market after a study found that it's ineffective, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Backdrop: The FDA approved the drug in 2011, but required a follow-up study. That study came out last week and found that the drug — which has become the standard treatment — doesn't decrease recurrent preterm births.
What they're saying: "At the end of the day we want to be giving pregnant women medications that work and help them and their babies," Adam Urato, chief of maternal-fetal medicine at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Mass., told the Journal. "This drug doesn't work."
Go deeper: When an expensive drug turns out to be a dud