The Weekly Summary

August 5th – August 11th                                 2019

In general news, multiple nuclear accidents and explosions occurred in Russia, as they move forward with plans to float a nuclear power plant close to Alaska. European bonds went into negative yield territory indicating a global financial collapse could be near. That sent equity markets down again. In the U.S., the court documents on the Jeffrey Epstein case became unsealed, implicating presidents, prime ministers, senators, etc. A few hours later, Epstein was found dead in his maximum-security federal prison, causing many to suspect murder.

In healthcare news, a Harvard psychiatrist urges the profession to prescribe less and focus on helping patients more. Doctors halted menopause by freezing ovarian tissue, then replanting it later.

In healthcare business news, earnings season continued. In New York, healthcare inflation is worse than the national average. Also, CMS covered expensive CAR-T therapies.

On the data front, Sarepta (SRPT) shares imploded on news that a Duchenne MD gene therapy patient was hospitalized. In other data fraud news, Novartis (NVS) CEO knew about data irregularities with Zolgensma to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The drug costs more than $1 million per patient and has the record for the costliest drug.

From the FDA, the agency reversed course and now plans to hold an AdCom for Amarin’s (AMRN) Vascepa (just fish oil in a tablet) to treat high cholesterol. Also, the agency set new guidelines for handling medical devices with paclitaxel coatings.

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