• As sales of Merck & Co.’s immuno-oncology heavy hitter Keytruda soared 66% in the fourth quarter to $2.15 billion, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations they were knocked because analysts want to know ‘what’s next”?
  • Pharma is obsessed with fighting and winning and dominating even if it means making bad business decisions.
  • The wisdom of setting business goals—always striving for bigger and better—is so established within pharma that it seems like the only thing left to debate is whether the goals are ambitious enough.
  • Pharma is suffering from ambition hyperinflation.
  • Pharma, which used to cite the high cost of research, now say rebates within supply chain drive up prices.
  • Pharma says they don’t actually benefit much from list-price increases and that their net prices are suffering, because they are paying bigger rebates to pharmacy-benefit managers that negotiate prices in secret with their clients, such as employers and labor unions.
  • Drugmakers’ price increases are unrelated to the rebates, according to research commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, a trade group for PBMs.
  • McKinsey & Company, according to the Massachusetts AG, had helped the maker of OxyContin fan the flames of the opioid epidemic.
  • McKinsey’s consultants, the attorney general revealed, had instructed the drug company, Purdue Pharma, on how to “turbocharge” sales of OxyContin.
  • McKinsey had advised numerous pharma clients to raise prices on cancer and rare disease drugs because “insurance would pay the high prices”.
  • Fifty-four percent of consumers are willing to try an FDA-approved app or digital tool for the treatment of a medical condition, according to a new report out of PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • A fall PwC’s survey of 1,750 US adults also found that doctors are suggesting digital tools to patients more often, with 77 percent of doctors have recommended an app or digital program to their patients.
  • As these technologies begin to become more mainstreamed, validation has also become a hot topic.

KEY TAKEAWAY: There is nothing worse than promising very sick or dying patients with false hope of a “miracle cure”. Yet, Forbes and other media outlets, like The Hill, have spread the story about a small team of Israeli scientists who are telling the world they will have the first “complete cure” for cancer within a year. And not only that, but they claim it will be brief, cheap and effective and will have no or minimal side-effects. This company is another Theranos?

  • igital health global venture capital broke records again in 2018 with 698 deals raising a total of $9.5bn.
  •  Funding for the digital health sector continues to rise, at a 32% increase year-over-year – a pace that will be difficult to maintain this funding pace going into 2019 unless there is “a clear exit path for investors,”.
  • In the United States, digital health companies raised close to $7 billion in 2018 with the remaining $2.5 billion coming out of other countries.
  • Most doctors say they have not recommended any general health and wellness apps or wearables to their patients. (Source: Kantar)
  • For medical-grade devices, the results are similar, with 70% of doctors saying they have not recommended medical-grade web-connected devices to their patients. (Source: Kantar).
  • Drug prices continue to fuel media stories and drive politicians to action but, for the most part, the real driver of high healthcare costs is being ignored.
  • The total percentage of non-elderly people with insurance and affordability problems to 26.2%.
  • The number of US adults with diabetes increased from 21.2 million in 2003-2004 to 30.2 million in 2013-2014, while the prevalence of obesity rose from 31.7% to 37.5% over the same period.
  • Millennials are on track to be the most obese generation.