Digital Health News Roundup:
- Wearables, schmearables -- implantable sensors and “epidermal electronics” that can facilitate remote monitoring and more are coming soon.
- MIT is spinning off a nonprofit ratings site for medical apps, connected devices and digital services, as reviewed by Harvard physicians and MIT Hacking Medicine Institute experts. Given the glut of apps and devices out there, there’s an enormous need for curation and validation, as we’ve seen in our research.
- GSK and Propeller Health will partner on a smart inhaler for asthma and COPD, incorporating Propeller’s sensor tech into the GSK’s Ellipta inhaler.
- Will Misfit beat Apple and Samsung to develop the first mass-market, reimbursed connected medical device?
- The Institute of Medicine has a report out looking at how the role of nurses is changing. They found empowerment, as well as challenges, for nurses.
- The gene editing crowd held a conference last week, where they mulled the ethical quagmire inhabited by their emerging field and established a set of general guidelines – among them, no editing that’s inheritable. If you missed it, here’s your definitive lunchtime read on CRISPR and the young genius who built it.
- Bad news for Martin Shkreli – Express Scripts is listing a much cheaper compounded version of the pill that costs $749 less than the $750 he’s charging for Daraprim. Not that this has humbled the bad boy, who told a Forbes Healthcare Summit crowd that his only regret was that he didn’t put the price up higher. Shkreli’s Gordon Gekko routine is much of the reason pharma’s poll numbers have plummeted to alarming depths of late. He’s clearly relishing the attention, though. And politicians are relishing the surfacing of a favorite policy topic -- the Clinton campaign is up with a new TV ad attacking industry “price gouging.”
- Public spending on drugs is going up much as public regard for the drug industry is going down – precipitously. National spending on prescription drugs hit the $3 trillion mark in 2014, buoyed by the Affordable Care Act and the recent entries of a host of pricey specialty drugs. Drug prices will be the subject of a Senate committee hearing this week. An investigation by that committee produced an email trail illuminating how Gilead execs weighed “reputational risks” and weathered the storm over the pricing of their breakthrough hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in 2013.
- Lots of pharmas set up prior authorization units to ease patients and practices through the slow-walking paperwork, but an Arizona pharma specializing in pain drugs is in hot water over allegations that theirs simply stamped all applications “breakthrough cancer pain” to ensure that insurers green-lighted their scrips.
- Libertarian policy wonk Scott Gottlieb says an overzealous FDA is forcing Apple to pull its punches with regards to medical uses for sensor tech – a notion corroborated by Tim Cook’s recent statement that the company feared medical device clearances might gum up the works of its Apple Watch release (although there were reports in the runup that some of those sensors weren’t performing as reliably as hoped).
- Good news – new S. diabetes cases are declining for the first time in a quarter-century.
- Ad Age says 2016 will be the “year of ‘marketing doing.’” Technology, they say, “will be deployed only within the context of the user experience the artist had in mind – not the technologists.”
Photo credit: GSK