Good morning. Here's to hoping that today's health care news is that the pollen count is lower than yesterday's.
The death rates in the U.S. from pretty much every major cause — heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, suicide, sepsis, guns, infant mortality — remain highest in the South, according to updated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between the lines: Rural Appalachia has higher death rates from drug overdoses, Axios' Bob Herman reports. But a lot of the poorest health outcomes in the South reflect longstanding poverty, fewer health care resources and longstanding barriers to care.
The Justice Department is reviewing the government patent for use of an HIV prevention drug, potentially signaling that it's considering action against the drugmaker that sells it, the Washington Post reports.
Why it matters: Truvada is key to the administration's goal of eradicating HIV by 2030, as it helps prevent new infections. But its price tag is creating patient access issues.
The big picture: It's rare for the government to sue for drug patent infringement, although the Department of Health and Human Services has patented more than 2,500 products since 1976, WashPost reported last month.
The health care industry's earnings season is picking up, with 27 major companies reporting this week, Bob reports. As always, you can follow along with our tracker.
Driving the news: It's been the usual bonanza for health care thus far, despite Wall Street's fears of an unclear future.
What we're watching: AbbVie, which is facing "patent thicket" lawsuits over Humira, comes out this morning. Sanofi, which is facing more political heat over its insulin prices, comes out Friday morning.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Here's some news you can use: Keep your babies away from the iPad, or any other screen for that matter. Or at least that's what the World Health Organization says you should do.
What they're saying: The WHO said that less screen time and more physical activity "will contribute to children's motor and cognitive development and lifelong health."
It’s not unusual for work to be part of the equation in addiction recovery, my colleague Sam Baker notes — a job can provide access to health insurance, and some business owners want to help. But a company called the Cenikor Foundation is turning recovery into unpaid labor, often in unsafe conditions.
Driving the news: Reveal, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, pulled back the curtain on Cenikor's practices, which many experts say are likely illegal.
Details: Patients who enter Cenikor's program — sometimes via a court order — are put to work doing physical labor, often in warehouses or on oil platforms.
What they're saying: "I can't fathom this being legitimate," John Meek, a former Labor Department investigator, told Reveal.
Editor's note: The third story in yesterday's newsletter said that hospitals all get paid a certain dollar amount for CAR-T therapy. That's not true; hospitals' payment rates vary.
Thanks to the very smart Vitals reader who flagged this to me! All of you should feel free to do the same if you see something that isn't quite right.