UnitedHealth Group

Axios analysis: Drugmakers getting richer

Data: Company filings; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A majority of the health care industry's profits in the first three months of 2019 went to the top 10 companies, and 9 of those 10 companies were pharmaceutical manufacturers, according to Axios' quarterly analysis of industry financial reports.

The bottom line: Quarter after quarter after quarter shows drugmakers continue to wield the highest profit margins in the industry even though the political and public uproar over drug prices has somewhat dampened their stocks.

Judge calls United "barbaric" for not covering cancer therapy

United Healthcare's refusal to cover an advanced cancer treatment was "immoral and barbaric," a federal judge said yesterday as he recused himself from a lawsuit over that decision. The class-action suit accuses United of wrongfully denying coverage for proton-beam radiation to treat prostate cancer.

Between the lines: Judges set their personal beliefs aside all the time. But, in a reminder of just how personal health care can be, Judge Robert Scola said he simply couldn't do that. He said he had considered proton-beam therapy himself, and that a friend paid $150,000 for the procedure because United wouldn't cover it. "To deny a patient this treatment, if it is available, is immoral and barbaric," he wrote in an unusual parting shot.