What a controversial drug approval could mean for future Alzheimer’s treatments

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Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I’m Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer, and this week in healthcare news:

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alzheimers research 4x3

A massive – and controversial – Alzheimer’s drug approval

Wow, I can’t believe it was just this Monday that the Food and Drug Administration approved the first new Alzheimer’s treatment in nearly two decades.

There were a few surprises that came with the approval of the drug, Aduhelm. For one, there were no real limitations placed by FDA on who will be eligible for the new drug. And the drug costs roughly $56,000 a year.

…. And let’s not forget this is a drug that an expert panel voted against approving last November.

Allison DeAngelis and Shelby Livingston this week dug into a little-known barrier could stand in the way of millions of patients clamoring to get the treatment.

Since the approval, doctors have started resigning from the FDA’s expert panel – the one that voted against approving the drug.

Allison and Andrew Dunn analyzed the problems facing Aduhelm – and future Alzheimer’s drugs.

Find out more>>

The first new Alzheimer’s drug in decades costs $56,000, probably doesn’t work, and could stand in the way of better treatments


Noom
Noom is an app-based weight management startup.

Noom’s big bet on preventive care

This week, Megan Herbroth and Gabby Landsverk went digging into Noom.

The weight-loss startup stunned the healthcare industry in May when it raised $540 million from investors including Silver Lake and Oak HC/FT. And it’s betting big that it can do for sleep and anxiety what it did for weight loss.

It’s taken 13 years to get to this point, and not every idea worked.

Megan and Gabby spoke to Noom’s CEO, investors, and experts to get a sense of the journey that now convinces investors Noom’s worth $3.7 billion.

Get the full history>>

Inside the rise of $3.7 billion Noom: How a 13-year-old weight-loss startup is taking on one of the fastest-growing markets in digital health


Amazon Pharmacy

Amazon and Walmart face off over prescriptions

Is it just me, or has a lot of news about the health ambitions of Amazon and Walmart come out in near tandem?

This week, it was the news that Amazon and Walmart are competing to drive down the cost of medications.

And prescriptions isn’t the only place where competition between the two retail giants is heating up. Both are beefing up their virtual care presence. Last Friday, Shelby had the scoop that Walmart quietly filed to be a provider in 16 new states.

In a rare public appearance, a top Amazon VP shared that Amazon’s medical service will announce multiple companies it’s working with in the next few months.

When it comes to prescriptions, the two have the potential to shake up the pharmacy industry, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note this week.

Here’s what’s at stake>>

Amazon and Walmart are competing to offer you the cheapest prescriptions, and it could shake up the entire pharmacy industry


More stories we covered this week:


– Lydia

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CVS expands its COVID-19 vaccine program to 29 states as more doses become available

CVS pharmacy

  • The added states include Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina.
  • CVS is now administering vaccines in around 1,200 stores across 29 states, the company said.
  • Appointments for the doses in just-added states are available for booking starting Saturday, CVS said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Starting Saturday, eligible residents in another 12 states can begin booking COVID-19 vaccinations at CVS pharmacy.

This week, the vaccines rolled out to CVS locations in Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Minnesota, and Vermont.

The company is now administering vaccines in nearly 1,200 stores across 29 states and Puerto Rico, Philadelphia and New York City, CVS Health said in a statement.

“We’re increasing the number of active stores and expanding to additional states as fast as supply allows, with the capacity to administer 20 25 million shots per month,” said Karen S. Lynch, President and Chief Executive Officer, CVS Health. “We’re also focused on priority populations, including vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic as well as teachers and school support staff.”

The expansion comes as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that was announced by the White House last month, stipulating that over 40,000 pharmacies nationwide will receive vaccine doses to give to eligible populations.

In February, select CVS Pharmacy locations began offering COVID-19 vaccine doses in 17 states as part of the program.

President Joe Biden announced earlier this month that pre-K through 12 educators, staff, and child care workers should receive at least one shot of the two-dose vaccine by the end of March.

This eligible group made up over 30% of COVID-19 vaccine appointments at CVS pharmacies between March 3 and March 10, the company said.

Separately, the pharmacy giant said its vaccine rollout at long-term care facilities has been a “success.”

Its pharmacy teams completed providing second doses at all nursing facilities and that the third and final visits are 90% complete, CVS said. Additionally, the second vaccine doses at assisted living and other facilities are 91% complete, it said.

The company administered around 4.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , to facilitate on-site vaccinations for staff and residents at over 65,000 enrolled long-term care facilities.

On Wednesday, Target began providing vaccine doses in over 600 CVS pharmacies located inside its store locations.

Read the original article on Business Insider

More than 400,000 Excedrin bottles have been recalled because of holes in the bottles that could cause child poisoning

excedrin
Excedrin PM.

  • More than 400,000 Excedrin bottles have been recalled due to a manufacturing issue.
  • According to the recall, certain bottles of the migraine medication contain holes in the bottom that could be a risk for poisoning among children with easy access to the pills.
  • No injuries have been reported.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

About 433,600 units of Excedrin bottles have been recalled due to a packaging issue that has left holes in multiple bottles.

Five Excedrin brands – migraine caplets, migraine geltabs, extra strength caplets, PM headache caplets, and tension headache caplets – are included in the recall, which was posted on December 23. 

According to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which manufactures Excedrin, certain bottles of the migraine medication contain holes in the bottom that could cause a poisoning risk among children with easy access to the pills. The Poison Prevention Packaging Act requires that substances containing aspirin and acetaminophen, like Excedrin, must be protected with child-resistant packaging.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission website says bottles without a hole can continue to be used normally.

GSK said on its website that 24-count bottles of Excedrin extra strength caplets and Excedrin migraine caplets and geltabs were not impacted. 

No injuries have been reported, according to USA Today

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon is reportedly eyeing a $100 million investment in the Apollo Pharmacy chain, further expanding its healthcare plans

Amazon Pharmacy
Amazon considers $100 million investment in India’s pharmacy chain

  • Amazon is looking to invest nearly $100 million in Apollo Pharmacy, the Indian pharmacy chain, two people familiar with the plans told the Economic Times Wednesday.
  • Amazon’s plans to expand in India come after the launch of its own Amazon Pharmacy service in the US November 17, allowing people to buy prescription drugs through its website.
  • The potential investment would come amid competition in India from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, which recently bought a majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds.
  • Indian trader groups say online drugstores can contribute to medicine sales without proper verification.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon is reportedly considering a nearly $100 million investment in India’s pharmacy chain Apollo Pharmacy, close on the heels of its launch of an online pharmacy to deliver prescription drugs in the US.

The company is looking to face up to Reliance Industries Ltd and Tata Group in India’s fast-growing drug market, the Economic Times reported Wednesday, citing two people aware of the plans. 

Amazon already delivers medicines in India and the potential investment would come amid rising competition from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, which bought a majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds.

Both Amazon and Apollo Hospitals, which owns Apollo Pharmacy, declined to comment to Reuters.

The growth of e-pharmacies has left many Indian trader groups feeling threatened. They say online drugstores can contribute to medicine sales without proper verification and the entry of large players can cause unemployment in the sector.

Amazon’s plan to further expand in India comes after it launched its US Amazon Pharmacy service November 17, increasing its competition with drug retailers such as Walgreens, CVS Health and Walmart.

US customers can now buy drugs through Amazon’s main website.

Amazon Prime members would get benefits from the service including two-day delivery and big price cuts on generic and brand-name drugs, the company said.

Read more: Read the leaked talking points that Amazon Web Services employees are using to explain its recent massive cloud outage: ‘There is no compression algorithm for experience’

Since 2018, when the company bought a small drug-delivery startup called PillPack, industry watchers have been expecting Amazon to move into delivering drugs.

In June 2019, Amazon launched a brand of over-the-counter medication, and in August 2020, the company launched a health-monitoring wristband called Halo.

Business Insider reported in November that as the retail firm expands into healthcare, it would need to be careful not to scare consumers who may be concerned about their data privacy.

Read the original article on Business Insider