Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I’m Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer, and this week in healthcare news:
- A controversial Alzheimer’s drug approval poses some big challenges for the future of the field;
- We chronicled the history of Noom, which raised $540 million from top investors after spending a decade trying to crack the weight-loss app business;
- Amazon and Walmart face off on discounting prescriptions.
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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.
The first new Alzheimer’s drug in decades costs $56,000, probably doesn’t work, and could stand in the way of better treatments
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
- The biggest deal news this week came from One Medical’s plans to acquire Iora Health for $2.1 billion. Read our full story on the deal here.
- Transcarent, a startup backed by Livongo veterans, raised $58 million at a nearly $500 million valuation.
- In our first in a series called “Future of Healthcare,” we detailed 3 key challenges facing telehealth.
- We tallied up the 9 biggest biotech winners after the FDA took an entirely new approach to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug.