Issue 56: Government screw ups, Teva's new inhaler, Best Buy jumps into healthcare and more

The EPA wants coal companies to make more $$$

The EPA cowtows to corporate interests

You know something’s really wrong with your government if the ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency is suddenly more interested in making a few bucks rather than actually doing what its name suggests—protecting the environment. The EPA recently said that having such strict limitations on mercury and toxic emissions from oil and coal-fired power plants is not “appropriate and necessary,” simply because it doesn’t allow corporations to make enough money. Apparently, industries lose $7.4-$9.6 billion annually due to these limitations. Buuuut let’s just ignore the fact that having these safety restrictions in place SAVES our healthcare system $80 billion worth by preventing effects of exposure to mercury, like neurological disorders, heart and lung diseases, weakened immune systems, and premature deaths. Of course the coal industry is pretty happy about this, but is it really smart to invest in a dying industry when it comes at both an economic and human cost?

Government shutdown screws Native Americans

Image from Newsweek

How did the government shutdown affect healthcare? Okay, if you didn't even know that the government has been in a shutdown due to stalled negotiations over Trump's walls, maybe you're reading this from Minnesota or New Jersey, since those states were much less affected by the shutdown. Well, some people were disproportionately affected from a healthcare standpoint. Yea, the Native Americans, that you probably did not know were heavily supported by federal bills and funding, will be screwed over. You probably have never met one or cared to think about them but it's not uncommon that the most underprivileged gets neglected first. 

Teva's new smart inhaler

Image from Teva UK

Teva Pharmaceuticals, a generic pharma company based out of Israel, recently won FDA approval for its smart inhaler. Basically it records when users are using the inhaler and allows providers/patients to analyze the data. The device is being piloted now at several hospitals and will rollout nationally in 2020. The ProAir Digihaler is currently indicated for asthma, COPD, and exercise induced bronchospasm.

Verily gets a $1 billion investment

Image from 9to5 Google

The life sciences subsidiary of Alphabet, Verily, recently raised $1 billion dollars to buy a bunch of smaller companies and business development. The round was led by Silver Lake. Just two years ago Verily raised another $800 million from a Singapore based investment firm. Hey biology ain't cheap. Verily recently closed down their glucose sensing contact lens project, but they have a boatload of other projects in the pipeline involving digital health, the basic life sciences as well as longevity research.

Bristol Meyers Squibb wants to buy Celgene for $90 billion 

hella corporate

Four days into the New Year and already pharma is gearing up for some big acquisitions. Bristol Myers Squibb is apparently offering to buyout Celgene for $90 billion dollars. Both companies are based in the US and have pipeline candidates in the oncology space. If the merger goes through both companies combined will control 14.5% of the market for oncology drugs. This is still lagging behind market leader Roche which has 21% market share. BMS investors are not exactly thrilled by the acquisition. The day the announcement was made shares of BMS fell 15%. Celgene shares have taken a beating in the last year and a half due to a failed gut drug and several delays in the development in one of their MS drugs. Who knows if the acquisition will work out for BMS, but it's certain that there's gonna be more pharma mergers in 2019.

Best Buy wants to be a player in healthcare

Image from SeekingAlpha

2018 was a big year for big tech companies getting into healthcare. Amazon announced a new healthcare company led by Atul Gawande, Apple announced that it's smartwatch could diagnose AFIB, Google hired a bunch of high profile healthcare execs, and Uber announced it would help transport patients to their appointments. Well believe it or not humble Best Buy also wants in on the action. Yes the Best Buy that sells electronics. The electronics retailer recently appointed a new president to their Best Buy Health Division, recruited 2 new senior healthcare execs to their board, and announced in a recent conference call that they would be focusing on health related technology for senior citizens. You go Best Buy!