Drug companies sometimes directly pay patients to get their medication. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

Brand-name pharmaceutical companies occasionally send checks to commercially insured patients with the goal of getting those people to keep taking their high-priced drugs, Kaiser Health News reports.

Why it matters: The industry says this is simply a direct form of "patient assistance," which also includes things like copay coupons. However, critics see these practices as a form of kickback, and they're outlawed in Medicare and Medicaid because they induce people to stay on drugs that have seen staggering price increases.

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4 mins ago - World

Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave

Paris under curfew. Photo: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The coronavirus is still winning: Now even Germany is entering another national lockdown, joined by France.

Why it matters: France has been "overpowered by a second wave,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a nationally televised address today. Macron said the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier" than the first.

Stocks close down more than 3%

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld via Getty Images

Stocks took a hit on Wednesday, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrials Average and Nasdaq dropping more than 3% across the board.

Why it matters: The volatility is a break from the stock market grinding higher in the face of spiking coronavirus cases, a stalling economy and gridlocked negotiations over an additional stimulus package.