Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ICH endorses a faster, less expensive approach to cardiac safety testing

iCardiac CEO Alex Zapesochny

iCardiac CEO Alex Zapesochny

Drug developers must demonstrate that new medications are safe and effective in order to win regulatory approval. The gold standard in cardiac safety testing has been the Thorough QT study, a separate, expensive trial that is typically conducted late in the clinical development process.

The international body that informs drug development standards has just revised its stance to support definitive QT testing based on ECGs collected during existing early-stage trials. iCardiac Technologies, where I’m a board member, pioneered this approach in conjunction with the FDA. I asked iCardiac’s CEO Alex Zapesochny to explain what is happening.

  1. What is the ICH and why does it matter for clinical trials?

The International Council for Harmonisation is an international forum for regulators to harmonize drug approval practices. The group includes pharmaceutical industry representatives and regulators from the United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan and Switzerland.

As for the clinical trials process, the ICH aims to make recommendations toward achieving greater harmonization in the interpretation and application of technical guidelines and requirements related to research and development of new drugs. These guidelines can assist with pharmaceutical product registration and help reduce or avoid duplication of testing carried out during R&D.

  1. ICH has issued a regulatory revision for cardiac safety testing. What specifically has it done?

Currently, the FDA and other regulators expect nearly all new drugs to be tested using a costly, stand-alone Thorough QT (TQT) study to assess a drug’s effect on the QT interval before market approval. This is an important step, since a prolonged QT interval is associated with a heightened risk for arrhythmias and possible sudden cardiac death. The latest revision adopted by the ICH states that data from ECGs collected during routine Phase I or other early clinical trials may be used to conclusively demonstrate a drug’s QT effect. This approach relies on intensive, high quality ECG analysis and the use of exposure response modeling.

  1. What led to the change?

Regulators around the world want to make the drug development process as safe, precise and efficient as possible. The ICH revision emerged a year after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration helped to organize a meeting of thought leaders to discuss the results of a successful prospective validation study demonstrating the ability to determine cardiac safety much earlier in the development process. This revision is likely the most significant regulatory shift in cardiac safety since the original E14 guidance was adopted by the ICH in 2005.

  1. What role did iCardiac play? The FDA?

iCardiac has been championing this alternative approach for several years, including collaborating with thought leaders from the FDA and from industry to help organize a prospective validation study to definitively test this new approach. Ultimately iCardiac sponsored that definitive validation study, and it was overseen by iCardiac personnel and used our proprietary High Precision QT methodology to perform the critical data analysis. Leaders from the FDA have been involved in multiple key ways, including decisions around the validation study design and co-authoring publications about the validation study and its implications. Of course, the FDA is also a participant in the ICH and played a direct role in the new regulatory revision.

  1. What will be the practical implications?

This development provides an alternative path for sponsors with regard to demonstrating the effect of their drug on QT, which is a critical part of gaining market approval for a new drug. By analyzing ECG data from a Phase I or other early clinical study, sponsors can choose to seek a waiver from regulators from having to do a TQT study. The FDA granted the first TQT waiver based on this alternative approach earlier in 2015. So apart from saving time and money, this approach gives drug developers insight into their compound’s QT liability much earlier in the clinical trials process.

  1. What are you doing to let people know more about the implications?

iCardiac will conduct two free public webinars to explain the new ICH guidance and the standards it establishes for receiving a waiver from the Through QT study. Dr. Borje Darpo, a cardiologist and chief scientific officer at iCardiac, will discuss the impact of this regulatory revision on the clinical development process. The webinars will be held on January 12th and January 20th, 2016. You can follow the links below to register for one of iCardiac’s webinars:

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.


from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/22/ich-endorses-a-faster-less-expensive-approach-to-cardiac-safety-testing/
via A Health Business Blog

The Best and Worst Financial Advice You Just Keep Hearing *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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The Two Biggest Healthcare Stories of 2015

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2 Healthcare Stocks That Kicked Butt in 2015

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The (Not-So) Shocking Pick For Worst Healthcare CEO in 2015

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Monday, December 21, 2015

How Google is Handling Its European Troubles

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Why Pandora Won Big With the CRB’s Royalty Rate Decision

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Tech: Re-Gifting Old Podcast Stories *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Interest Rates Increased by a Smidge, and U.S. International Oil Export Bans Lifted

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Russia's Largest Oil Company Considering Selling a Stake – Any Takers?

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“Don’t Worry, It’s Just Bankruptcy! We’ll Still Be A Leader in Shale!”

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What New Legislation Means for the Solar Industry in the Next 10 Years

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Walgreens in Prime Position as Market Share Leader of Retail Pharmacy Space

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Low Federal Interest Rates Driving 2015's M&A Activity

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M&A, the New R&D: Pfizer Buys Growth in 2015

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M&A, the New R&D: AbbVie's Big Move in 2015

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M&A, the New R&D: Celgene's Biggest Move in 2015

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Partners and Hallmark drop deal talk: I’m quoted

Partners HealthCare and Hallmark Health System have called off merger talks. See (In face of opposition, Partners unlikely to expand further in Mass.) in the Boston Globe. This is not too surprising, considering the pushback Partners has received from the Health Policy Commission, Attorney General’s Office among others.

Health Policy Commission chairman Stuart Altman told the Globe:

“We’re not opposed to thoughtful consolidation or restructuring.” But plans “really need to be based on improving quality and access, and not just a thinly veiled attempt to raise prices.”


I’m quoted as well:

“Partners is in a new era,” said David E. Williams, president of the Boston consulting firm, Health Business Group. “What the regulators and the Health Policy Commission are signaling is that they don’t want Partners to grow by acquisition.”

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.



from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/19/partners-and-hallmark-drop-deal-talk-im-quoted/
via A Health Business Blog

Friday, December 18, 2015

Investing Book Recommendation #6: Market Wizards by Jack Schwager

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Healthcare: Is M&A The New R&D? *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Health Wonk Review is up at Workers’ Comp Insider

Workers’ Comp Insider hosts the last 2015 edition of the Health Wonk Review. It’s a lively edition, replete with exciting stories on the Affordable Care Act, physician economics, compliance, ethics and more. And the Santa graphics are a must-watch!


from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/18/health-wonk-review-is-up-at-workers-comp-insider-12/
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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cheat-Day Your Way Into Better Spending Habits

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Advice on Breaking Bad Habits and Making Good New Ones Stick

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Fix Your Bad Money Habits with this Little Hack

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What Your Credit Score Says About Your Love Life

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How Martin Shkreli is driving down drug prices

Thanks Mr. Evil for helping build consensus

Thanks Mr. Evil for helping build consensus

Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli made waves this year by boosting the price of generic drug daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. Now he’s angling for an FDA voucher worth hundreds of millions of dollars by abusing an incentive program intended to encourage development of new drugs for neglected diseases. He’ll be ratcheting up the price of another drug to boot. And finally his interview with HipHopDx reveals him to be a very nasty and unsavory character. (Jump straight to the last question if you don’t believe me.)

Yet ironically his well publicized price-jacking of a few specific products seems reasonably likely to lead to a slowdown in price increases for the pharma industry as a whole, if not outright price controls. You see, what Shkreli has done differs only in degree from standard industry practices.

The industry spends a lot of money and energy to explain that its pricing is directly related to the high cost of drug development. We know that’s not true, but even if it were true it would not explain why prices for medications rise so quickly, even for products that have been on the market a long time.

The Shkreli affair, along with shenanigans from Valeant, have awakened serious journalists, who have started to look into drug pricing more broadly. This Wall Street Journal article (How Pfizer set the cost of its new drug at $9,850 a month) is a good example.  Pfizer doesn’t set its price based on R&D costs, but it doesn’t charge the maximum it can get away with either. Pfizer is in this game for the long term and likes the status quo. It doesn’t want to generate a backlash. But Shkreli is generating a backlash, not just against him but against the whole industry. Politicians are seizing on him as an example, and rightly so.

Free markets unfettered by government interference are great, but as I have written (Why drug price regulation should not be ruled out) we have to remember that the government plays a very big role in enabling high and rising product prices: it grants monopolies and market exclusivity that keep out competitors. And, through Medicare, Medicaid and other programs the government is the biggest payer for many products. Shkreli’s actions present legislators and the president with an opportunity to re-examine drug pricing policies and consider changes that are in the country’s interest. The longer he keeps up his act, the higher the chance for significant reform.

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.


from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/17/how-martin-shkreli-is-driving-down-drug-prices/
via A Health Business Blog

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Latest Merger Will See Hundreds of Famous Brands Brought Together

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Konnichiwa! WWE Expanding Its Streaming Service to Japan

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Newell Rubbermaid and Jarden Share This Formula for Success

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Newell Rubbermaid and Jarden Join Forces to Create a Huge Portfolio of Brands *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Investing Book Recommendation #5: Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

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Investing Book Recommendation #4: The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks

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Investing Book Recommendation #3: Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy Siegel

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Financials: 4 Book Ideas for the Holiday Season *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Why You Should Talk to Your Family About the Will (and How To Do It Without Being Creepy)

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6 reasons to ignore listicles, even this awesome one

Captain Listicle

Captain Listicle


Are you bothered by  articles with headlines like, 21 Euphoric Experiences for People Who Just Love Food, 11 Christmas Cards Only Cubans Would Send or 7 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Get Organized for the Holidays? (These are just a few of the articles on BuzzFeed’s home page as I write this.)

I don’t like them either, and I don’t read them. (Neither should you.) So I thought I would do something therapeutic by explaining what’s wrong with them.

  1. The name for this format is “listicle.” It suggests a popsicle. Sweet, cheap, and with no nutritional value. That should be enough to keep you away.
  2. Most listicles are unoriginal. The writers aren’t experts; they’re just organizing a bunch of other junk they found on the web.
  3. Listicles are a tired format. Maybe you enjoyed the first few. Even the first few dozen. But aren’t you sick of them by now? Or are listicles more like crystal meth where you just can’t stop even if you’re brain literally rots out of your head?
  4. A good writer only needs three reasons to explain something.
  5. You’re a mature person. You’ve learned to avoid jailbait and are probably not even tempted by it. Can you say the same about clickbait? The publishers don’t care if you learn anything from the listicle. They just want you to see the advertising surrounding the piece.
  6. Listicle sounds way too much like a synonym for gonad.

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.


from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/14/6-reasons-to-ignore-listicles-even-this-awesome-one/
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How Should Investors Think About Acquisition Speculation?

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What Does Apple Look For in an Acquisition?

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tech: M&A Chatter – Don’t Believe the Hype *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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The Future of Oil, Energy, and... Interest Rates in 2016

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Why is This Gargantuan New Player Stepping Up to the Mobile Payment Space?

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Why Was Chipotle's Founder So Nervous on The Today Show?

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How To Research Your Investments Before You Buy

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One Ratio Could Have Saved MannKind Investors Big Money

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What Gilead Sciences' Balance Sheet is Telling Investors About its Mindset

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

What’s Behind AutoZone’s Continually Growth Year After Year?

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Luxury Home Builders – Best Quarter Since 2007, Prices Still Fall

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Poor Performance? Low Guidance? Blame Hollywood!

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Should patients choose doctors who are friends?

Come with me?

Can I help you?

In the social media era, it’s common to read articles discussing the blurring boundaries in the doctors/patient relationship. Usually it’s some version of, “Should a doctor accept friend requests from patients on Facebook?” or “Is it ok for doctors to Google their patients?”

The Wall Street Journal (The New Boundaries Between Doctors and Patients) explores these issues and goes on to explore what happens when patients and doctors become friendly during the course of treatment. In the midst of this there’s a throwaway paragraph:

“Some boundaries are clear. Professional medical organizations have strict rules against sex and romance with patients. Doctors are also advised not to treat family or close friends, situations that could compromise objectivity and judgment.”

I have no problem with the part about sex and romance. I also kind of understand the family issue. But the friend one is more interesting to me.

I read a few pieces that discuss this topic. (Here, here and here.) The typical scenario is a friend asking for medical advice in a casual setting, often on a topic that’s not related to the doctor’s specialty. I get why that’s a bad idea.

In my own case I know many practicing physicians socially, and most are in the prime of their careers: mid 40s to early 50s. A couple years ago when I was having trouble finding a new primary care doctor after mine retired, I asked physician friends who they went to. That was a little too clever on my part, since I forgot to account for the fact that physicians get treated differently than regular people when they go to the doctor’s office. No NPs for them!

But after some so-so experiences with a particular medical specialty, I decided to ask a specialist friend if he would be comfortable being my doctor. He said yes and I started seeing him. He’s a longtime friend but not an extremely close friend. I’ve been extremely satisfied with the experience. Partly because he’s an excellent doctor but also because I feel he understands me better and may even provide a little extra attention. He trusts me enough to exchange detailed emails. I’m not embarrassed to share personal medical details that I wouldn’t be comfortable with sharing someone who’s just a friend. Honestly, for me I don’t see the downside.

I did the same thing when I a needed a new dentist and that’s worked out well, too.

I hope I stay reasonably healthy and then die peacefully in my sleep when I turn 100, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time as a patient. But realistically it’s likely that I’ll be seeing more specialists as time moves along. I’m definitely planning to keep friends in mind when it comes time to find people to treat me.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/10/should-patients-choose-doctors-who-are-friends/
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Balance Sheet Brawl: Pfizer Vs. Bristol-Myers Squibb *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why Kinder Morgan Cutting Its Dividend Is A Good Thing

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How Will the Oil Industry Look Like in 2016?

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Who's Benefiting from Keurig Green Mountain's $13.9B Acquisition?

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Keurig Green Mountain Inc Buyout: The Biggest Winners and Losers

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What You Need to Know About JAB Holdings and Its Global Coffee Empire

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Amazon.com Inc. Welcomes Showtime, Starz, and Other Networks to Its Streaming Service

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The Key Numbers Behind the $13.9 Billion Acquisition of Keurig Green Mountain Inc

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Let the games begin: HITLAB World Cup

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Consumer Goods: Keurig Green Mountain Jumps Over 70% on Buyout News *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Interesting Facts about an Interesting Bank

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Will 2016 Bring the End of Starvation for Insurers?

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Silicon Valley Bank: The Tech Start-Up Community's Bank

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The Risks wih Niche Businesses

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Foolish Lessons from Medallion Financials

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Medallion Financial: Sink or Swim

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Financials: Awesome Adaptation *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Health Wonk Review is up at Health System Ed

Health System Ed extends the Thanksgiving theme with the Healthcare on Parade Edition of the Health Wonk Review. The subtitle (“It’s beginning to look a lot like… chaos”) is, sadly a good summary of the healthcare scene.

In any case you’ll want to read the posts to get yourself at least partially straightened out.


from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/04/health-wonk-review-is-up-at-health-system-ed-3/
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The Future of Energy: Fossil Fuels, Electric Vehicles, and Alternative *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

TMF Foolanthropy Drive 2015 | 12/01/2015 | The Motley Fool

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Top Drug Approvals of 2015: Cholesterol Busters

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Top Drug Approvals of 2015: Targeted Cancer Treatment

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Top Drug Approvals of 2015: Teaming Up in Multiple Myeloma

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Healthcare: Top 3 Drug Approvals of 2015 *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Twitter share counts – what happened?

Tweety bird on the way out?

Tweety bird on the way out?

Oh where oh where have my Twitter shares gone? Oh where oh where can they be?

Like most bloggers I have an option for readers to share posts they like (or hate) on social media, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The share buttons at the bottom of the posts also indicate how many people have shared a post on each platform. Usually Twitter is the most popular share for my blog, followed by LinkedIn and then Facebook.

WordPress.com is pretty easy to use but it’s also glitchy. When I scroll down the page on my blog I notice it often stops showing share counts after the first several posts, although if you click on a specific post the share counts will reappear.

So at first when the Twitter counts disappeared a couple weeks ago I figured it was just a WordPress problem and probably a transient one. But after a few days I started to get suspicious and so probed a bit further. Turns out Twitter announced a couple months back that it was removing the share counts. For the life of me I can’t figure out why they would do it. All the other social media sites have kept theirs.

Search Engine Watch has a good take on this:

“So, all this move does is:

  1. Irritate publishers, bloggers and authors like me who use share counts as a lightweight performance metric
  2. Stick another two fingers up to developers, who are used to it by now
  3. Remove Twitter from being relevant, when it comes to social proof

I’ve put quite a lot of effort into Twitter over the past five years or so and have a solid following there of over 9500 people. Twitter is easy to use and informative, but this move is a real pain in the neck.

My favorite social network is LinkedIn.  I’m proudest of the posts that generate the most shares there and am surprised at how many people read the blog on LinkedIn.

Anyway, you’re still invited to share my blog posts on Twitter. You just won’t know if you’re the first or 101st to do so, and neither will anyone else.

Image courtesy of olovedog at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/03/twitter-share-counts-what-happened/
via A Health Business Blog

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2015 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Results Are Here

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Forget Saving the Galaxy, Disney Needs Star Wars and Marvel Heroes to Deliver at the Box Office

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Will China Prove to Be the Theme Park Paradise Disney Needs It to Be?

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Disney Investors on the Run as ESPN Bleeds Subscribers

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As Cord Cutting Takes Hold, Disney Investors Must Face Their Biggest Challenge Yet

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

End of Year To-Do #3: Max Out Your Retirement Account Contributions

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End of Year To-Do #1 and # 2: Tax Loss Harvesting & Rebalancing Your Portfolio

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Interpreting the National Story and the Importance of Local Knowledge

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December 2015 Housing Market Checkup

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Does the Lawsuit Rattle Our Faith in Wells Fargo?

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The Trouble with Cross Selling

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Wells Fargo's Secret Weapon

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Joslin Diabetes CEO faces ‘big challenges’ –I’m quoted

It's tough to win in the diabetes business

It’s tough to win in the diabetes business

Diabetes is a huge health problem, and Joslin Diabetes Center is a renowned, world-class institution. You’d think it would be a good moneymaker, or at least able to break even. But, as the Boston Globe explains in Big challenges ahead for new Joslin CEO, that’s not the case.

Here’s the part of the article where I’m quoted:

Diabetes typically doesn’t require the kinds of expensive treatments or surgeries used to fight illnesses such as eye diseases and cancers. That means Joslin doesn’t have the same opportunities to generate revenues as other specialty clinics in Boston, such as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

“Diabetes is not as profitable a market as more procedure-oriented specialties,” said David E. Williams, a Boston health care consultant

Several years into health reform, it seems odd that we’re still rewarding expensive interventions rather than the type of coordinated, prevention-oriented care that Joslin provides. In some fields, prevention has an uncertain payoff, yet for diabetics proper care helps head off terrible and expensive downstream complications such as amputation, blindness, heart disease and kidney failure.

Joslin has a couple other things going against it:

  • Big healthcare systems have focused on keeping all care within their own systems, preventing “leakage” to other providers even when those providers are excellent
  • Joslin derives a fair amount of its revenue from research. Unfortunately for Joslin NIH rules such as salary caps and COLA freezes make research a loser from a purely financial standpoint. There’s also a lot of competition for grant dollars

Joslin has actually done a good job of recognizing these problems, and has built a substantial commercial business to license its knowhow and brand. But that hasn’t been enough to make up for all of the headwinds.

I am wishing new CEO Dr. Peter Amenta the best of success as he tries to turn this ship around.

Image courtesy of smarnad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.




from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/12/01/joslin-diabetes-ceo-faces-big-challenges-im-quoted/
via A Health Business Blog

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Consumer Goods: Everything You Need to Know About Black Friday *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h1ImbQm_pM
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The State of Financial Literacy in the United States

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffbwUiGqtqk
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Test Your Financial Literacy

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F20IFa4rFj0
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The Pitfalls of 13Fs and Shorts

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDmfxToeWm0
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When Shorts Go Wrong

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B7J_ohScQw
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Let's Talk 13Fs

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13F Season: Are You Ready?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Financials: The Importance of Financial Literacy *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgpCIGfG46k
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United pulls out of ACA exchanges: Should we care?

Walking wounded?

Walking wounded?

Insurance exchanges are a key feature of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. They enable individuals to compare insurance plans from a variety of carriers and choose the policy they like. Exchanges got off to a rough start with website glitches but overall they’ve been quite successful: enrolling millions of newly insured people, many of whom receive premium subsidies and some of whom receive additional assistance on out-of-pocket costs.

Recently we’ve heard what could be interpreted as bad news about the viability of exchanges: UnitedHealth is considering withdrawing from the program. In the highly politicized world of health reform, that information has Obamacare foes sounding the death knell.

I see things differently.

The biggest premium increases reported in the press were generally from the largest, most well known health insurers –like United. They may be losing money on the policies they offer on the exchanges and are jacking up prices as a result. But the whole purpose of an exchange is to give people the opportunity to shop around and to change plans if they want. Even in the face of big headline price increases, consumers who shop around can still typically keep their premium increases modest or even reduce what they’re paying.

The big name insurers that have a large share of the corporate market are not necessarily the winners on the exchanges. Rather, the leaders in the new price-sensitive era are lesser known plans, many of which cut their teeth in the Medicaid managed care market where tight cost control is key. They have what it takes to play in this brave new world.

There are some similarities to the airline business. Remember the days when you had to buy a ticket 30 days in advance and stay over a Saturday night to get a reasonable deal? Then carriers like Southwest came into the market and changed all that. Carriers like USAirways used to withdraw from markets that Southwest entered –they just couldn’t compete. That doesn’t mean air travelers suffered.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d like to see some changes to make the exchanges more vibrant –like increasing the allowed ratio of premiums based on age, which would make the plans more affordable for younger people. And it would be nice to have more flexibility in benefit designs. Still, United’s departure is likely to be more of a problem for the legacy carriers than it is for the exchanges or consumer choice.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.


from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/11/24/united-pulls-out-of-aca-exchanges-should-we-care/
via A Health Business Blog

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2 Energy Stocks we Love to Own

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7 Energy Stocks that Are Dividend Aristocrats

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What Business Models Work to be an Energy Dividend Aristocrat?

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The One Thing That Matters Most to Commodity Dividends

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How is it That Commodity Companies Go Boom and Bust So Frequently?

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Not All Utility Stocks are the Stable Dividend Payers We Thought

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What Does it Take to be an Energy Dividend Aristocrat?

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Commodity Companies Lack This One Trait That Makes it Easier to Be a Stable Dividend Stock

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Consumer Goods: Why Macy's Is a Great Retail Income Stock *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Health Wonk Review is up at Wright on Health

Wright on Health hosts the Counting Our Blessings Edition of the Health Wonk Review blog carnival. He’s worked in posts on understanding the rising death rates among whites, managerial overreach, workers comp, diabetes (my post), health IT and more.

Enjoy it!

from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/11/18/health-wonk-review-is-up-at-wright-on-health-11/
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Is Annaly Capital's 12% Dividend Yield Safe?

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0YBPkXyugY
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Get to Know Mortgage REITs

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3 Dividend Stock Picks For You To Consider

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What Role Should Dividends Play in Your Portfolio?

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Dividends: What They Are, How They Work, And Why You Should Care

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Financials: Dividend Week Introduction *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjySjOIbf2w
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Invokana makes diabetes fun again!


Question: What do obese, middle-aged and older, mute Americans with Type II diabetes do for fun?

Answer: At least according to this TV commercial for Invokana, they wander around waiting for frisbees with alluring images to glide down from the sky, then clutch the discs tight to change their lives.

I was struck by this 2-minute ad, which I saw a couple times while at the gym. The group really does personify the obesity and Type II diabetes statistics you read about. The ad makes the pill sound quite promising –explaining how great it is for glucose control and adding that it can even help patients lose weight.

The actors keep enjoying new frisbees right through the extensive discussion of side effects. It seemed odd to see a woman clutch a frisbee with what looks a lot like a diagram of the female pelvic anatomy at the same time the urinary tract infection and genital yeast infection side effects are discussed. Check it out around 1:07.

Screenshot 2015-11-16 16.49.10

At first I thought this was an ironic and unintentional placement but when I watched it again I noticed that during the dehydration side effect around 0:50 the guy pulls down a frisbee with a water bottle on it and packs it up for his hike.

Screenshot 2015-11-16 17.38.11

The commercial is somewhat surreal but on the whole I do find it communicates effectively. I bet it will be a success.

Still, as much fun as it looks to have Type II diabetes, I still prefer this video from Virgin America , which takes the boring airplane safety video and turns it into something much more exciting and active than expected. It also includes actors holding on to things from the sky, in this case safety cards.

Screenshot 2015-11-16 17.48.30


(And you’ll see there is absolutely zero cast crossover…)


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/11/17/invokana-makes-diabetes-fun-again/
via A Health Business Blog

Monday, November 16, 2015

Is There Anything To Like About HP After the Split?

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Is FireEye Still a Buy?

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTIMUfWgurs
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Are There Any Silver Linings For Pandora?

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What's Going Wrong At Pandora?

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Beat-Up Tech Stocks: Pandora, FireEye and HP *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Big Oil Continues to Play the Waiting Game on M&A

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Oil and Gas Companies in Danger of Defaulting

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Industry Focus Mailbag: Should I Fear My Pipeline Investments?

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Healthcare: Exelixis Nets a Win and Colorado Takes Aim at Health Insurers *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Marty, Bernie, Hillary –Ready to talk health policy?

Last year I interviewed all nine candidates for governor of Massachusetts about healthcare policy. I asked each of them the same questions and they all gave thoughtful replies. I received encouraging feedback from readers and from mainstream media, such as WBUR.

The presidential race is a whole different ballgame, with a lot more bluster and superficiality than the race for governor. And although it’s pretty popular for a niche publication, the Health Business Blog is not going to have the reach of more general outlets.

Nonetheless I decided to reach out to the three Democrats who remain in the race to see if they’ll be willing to speak. I would really like to see a competitive race and am still a little puzzled as to why Martin O’Malley hasn’t gotten more attention. He’s a credible player, if not as colorful as Bernie Sanders or as famous and controversial as Hillary Clinton.

The O’Malley site contains reasonably detailed policy prescriptions, but the only one on healthcare is about addiction treatment. That’s an important topic, but doesn’t make for a healthcare policy.

Sanders has a lot to say about prescription drug pricing. He frames it in the context of universal coverage, but again he doesn’t share a comprehensive policy.

Clinton’s site includes the most comprehensive views including one on healthcare broadly, another on addiction and another on Social Security and Medicare.

I do hope the candidates will take me up on my interview offer.

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.


from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/11/13/marty-bernie-hillary-ready-to-talk-health-policy/
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What Investors Need to Know When Struggling Retailers Report Q3 Results *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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The Ramifications of a 1700-mile Commute

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Bank of New York Mellon Manages to Fly Under the Radar of Regulators

from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZDMRVnzTq8
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NYCB's Dividend and Why It Shouldn't Bother You

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Potential Problems with NYCB Adding Astoria Financial to Its Wagon Train

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Is NYCB's Merger a Rose or a Thorn?

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why Republicans will stumble on drug pricing policy

Get 'em while they're cheap!

Get ’em while they’re cheap!

Prescription drug pricing has quickly risen toward the top of the list of voter concerns. Democrats running for President have been talking about it for a long while, but now Republicans feel they need to have something to say. (See GOP hopefuls, long quiet on drug prices, begin to make some noise.)

I predict the GOP candidates will mainly fail to come up with compelling approaches. Why?

The article includes certain wise things Republicans are saying on healthcare policy. But I want to point out that these won’t do anything to control drug prices:

  • Expand public/private partnerships for drug development. (They would do well to look to the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research as an incredibly effective and efficient model that started in HIV but has since expanded to liver disease)
  • Provide more funding for the NIH. We really need this if we are to stay ahead in the global competition for highly-educated talent. Yes, this policy would be even more effective if coupled with immigration reforms to enable graduates of US universities to stay after obtaining their degrees

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.


from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2015/11/10/why-republicans-will-stumble-on-drug-pricing-policy/
via A Health Business Blog

Financials: Pros and Cons for the Upcoming NYCB-Astoria Financial Merger *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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Internet.org Update: How Facebook Will Bring Internet to the Rest of the World

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What’s Up With WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger?

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3 Cool Stats From Facebook’s Most Recent Report

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Why Facebook Loves Small Businesses

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Facebook Ad Prices Just Keep Going Up

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Can You Guess Facebook’s Biggest Growth Driver?

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Facebook Earnings: The Numbers You Need to Know

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Financials: Pros and Cons for the Upcoming NYCB-Astoria Financial Merger *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***

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