Good morning ... ICYMI, the FDA yesterday approved the first new depression treatment in years, a nasal spray aimed specifically at patients whose severe depression has resisted other treatments. Could be a very big deal for a whole lot of people.
D.C. readers: You're invited to Mind the Skills Gap tomorrow at 8 am. Join Axios' Kim Hart for a look into the role policy, business and education leaders play in offsetting the skills gap.
Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Axios
You’d be hard-pressed to find many Trump administration officials with a better reputation, on both sides of the aisle, than Scott Gottlieb. But now he’s leaving.
The big picture: Gottlieb has been an incredibly consequential FDA commissioner. He's not without his critics — no one is — but he's about as close as you can get, especially in this administration.
Gottlieb's campaign against flavored tobacco products will be the main headline from his tenure at the FDA, and it's by far the biggest controversy he has courted. It was also one of those regulatory agendas only a conservative could set, and won praise from public-health advocates.
The other side: Some conservative activists thought he went too far on vaping, and he was never popular with liberal advocacy groups like Public Citizen, who saw him — and who see the FDA generally — as overly friendly to industry.
What we're watching: Tobacco stocks were up and biotech stocks were down after news of Gottlieb's resignation broke.
The Trump administration has taken aim at pharmacy rebates in Medicare and Medicaid, and now Republican Sen. Mike Braun wants to extend those proposed limits into the private market.
Details: Braun's bill would require PBMs to ditch the complex rebates they now use to provide discounted drugs for people with insurance.
Why it matters: Extending the administration's rebate ban into the private market is one of PBMs' greatest fears and one of pharma's greatest wishes.
Freestanding emergency departments, which provide emergency medical care but are physically separate from hospitals, charge many times more than other providers for the same care, according to a new analysis by UnitedHealth Group.
How it works: Freestanding ERs often don't provide treatment for common emergencies like trauma, strokes and heart attacks, per my colleague Caitlin Owens.
The bottom line: It is much, much cheaper to go see your family doctor if you have a fever — the most common diagnosis at Texas freestanding emergency departments.
It's not just drug overdoses: Deaths from suicide and alcohol are also on the rise. Combined, more than 150,000 Americans died from those 3 causes in 2017 — more than ever before, Axios' Stef Kight reports.
What's next: The Trust for America's Health and Well Being Trust, which put together those figures, project that drugs, alcohol and suicide are on track to kill 1.6 million Americans by 2025.
There's hope: Stef also notes that today's teens aren't drinking, dealing drugs or having sex nearly as much as their parents' generation. Probably for the best.
$109 million: The amount R. Milton Johnson made in 2018, his final year as CEO of HCA Healthcare before retiring, according to a new company SEC filing.
$43.5 million: The amount Johnson’s successor, Samuel Hazen, made last year as HCA’s second-in-command.
Go deeper: The GOP tax law led to more than $500 million in tax savings for the HCA hospital chain.