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Critics often point to pharmaceutical companies' fat profits as proof that they don't need to charge so much for drugs. Those companies, on the other hand, point to their research budgets to argue that they're using their sales to fund new treatments.
Axios' Caitlin Owens wanted to know who's right.
Reality check: The biggest drug companies generally spend more money on research than they keep in profits — although their profits are still healthy.
Between the lines: Drug companies have plenty of other costs besides research, including their ample marketing budgets.
The public believes research costs and industry profits are both big factors in drug pricing — a perception that's pretty well aligned with the reality of where pharma's money goes.
By the numbers: The Kaiser Family Foundation's latest tracking poll asked respondents to identify the “major factors” contributing to high drug prices. They could pick more than one.
On balance, the public seems skeptical of pharma.
Yes, but: This poll also indicates that drug prices aren’t a problem for most people.
Researchers have long been skeptical about whether surgical robots lead to better clinical outcomes than traditional surgical techniques. And now the FDA wants to make sure more patients and surgeons are aware of the pitfalls, my colleague Bob Herman reports.
What they're saying: Surgical robots have not been officially labeled as safe or effective "in mastectomy procedures or the prevention or treatment of cancer," the FDA wrote Thursday in a public safety notice.
Translation: Patients should be studious. Doctors should fully explain the risks or robotic surgery, and shouldn't hype it up.
By the numbers: Intuitive Surgical, one of the world's largest makers of surgical robots, collected more than $1.1 billion of profit from $3.7 billion of revenue in 2018. Intuitive's stock is up 161% since the start of 2017, putting the company's market value around $63 billion.
Swiss cannabis producers tend to their crops. Photo: Fabrice Coffrin/AFP/Getty Images
Everything old is new again for medical marijuana.
Today's weed industry is dominated by relatively small startups. But one of the biggest names in prescription drugs also used to have a hand in medical marijuana.
Lilly has no plans to try again now that weed is back in the mainstream.
You've probably seen those glossy lists of Top Doctors/Top Docs/Super Docs/etc. If you're like me, you've probably just kind of assumed it's probably B.S., but not interrogated it any further. Turns out, you were right.
ProPublica journalist Marshall Allen tells the story of how he became an "official" Top Doctor, despite not being a doctor at all.
Other doctor-listing companies told Allen they compile their lists using a referral system.
The best part is a New York doctor who was in the same listing as Allen, and explained that he's not surprised he was nominated because "I’m sort of in that echelon or class."