maker

medicine

Medicine: State could be affordable drug maker

As the leader of Washington #insulin4all and a board member of Health Care for All Washington, I am working with our legislators to introduce a bill that will also allow our state to create its own generic prescription drugs.

Washington would contract directly with generic drug manufacturers to produce medicine for state residents. The public production of medicines like insulin could lower prices and increase access to life-saving drugs.

Although it may sound radical for states to make medicine, it’s actually not that unusual. California’s Department of Public Health has manufactured the only treatment for infant botulism since 2003, and in Massachusetts the state-owned non-profit MassBiologics has produced vaccines for over 100 years.

Last year, I testified next to an 8-year-old afraid of rationing insulin as we spoke in support of copay caps on insulin in Washington. I became friends with a mother whose daughter moved abroad due to the cost of medicine.

Washington has an opportunity to end all that doubt and misery while creating jobs in the pharmaceutical industry and generating revenue for the state.

On World Diabetes Day, November 14, please take the time to contact your representatives in support of this transformative step.

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fitness

Whoop, maker of the fitness tracker that pro athletes love, is now valued at $1.2 billion

  • Whoop has closed a $100 million Series E Financing round, valuing the company at $1.2 billion.
  • Several professional athletes including Patrick Mahomes and Rory McIlroy are investors in the company
  • Whoop has seen a surge in business during the coronavirus pandemic as it has been an effective tool for some of its users in noticing early onset Covid symptoms.



Patrick Mahomes holding a frisbee: Patrick Mahomes is an investor in Whoop's latest round of funding.


© Provided by CNBC
Patrick Mahomes is an investor in Whoop’s latest round of funding.

Some of the biggest names in sports are investing in the wearable company Whoop amid a global pandemic.

The fitness tracking company announced Wednesday it closed a $100 million financing round, valuing it at $1.2 billion. 

The latest round of investors includes Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, champion golfers Rory McIlroy and

PGA Tour golfer Justin Thomas on playing amid coronavirus

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Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant (via his business venture ThirtyFive Ventures).

Whoop makes fitness trackers that can monitor vitals like movement, sleep and workouts. It’s been the fitness tracker of choice for a number of recognizable pro athletes, and has been used to help monitor potential symptoms of Covid-19 as sports came back after play was suspended due to the pandemic in the spring.

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“I’ve always loved Whoop the product, but I learned that Whoop the business was just as good. I’m proud to be investing again in this round of financing and very excited about the company’s prospects,” McIlroy said in a statement. The four-time Majors Champion also serves as a global ambassador to Whoop.

The funding round was led by venture capital firm IVP, which will get a board seat with Whoop. Other participating investors include SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Accomplice, Two Sigma Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Thursday Ventures, Nextview Ventures, Promus Ventures, Cavu Ventures and D20 Capital.

“A lot of the capital will go towards investing in membership, the overall experience, software, analytics and hardware,” Will Ahmed, Whoop CEO said in an interview with CNBC. “It’s really about bolstering the coaching aspect of Whoop. We aspire to be a 24/7 life coach to tell you what you need to do to improve.”

The Boston-based sports wearable company got its start in 2012 and now has more than 330 employees after a surge of recent hires. Ahmed said the company has hired 200 new employees in 2020.

The company wouldn’t provide revenue numbers but said its subscribers have been growing quickly over the last 12 months due to an increased interest in health during the pandemic. Whoop has raised more than $200 million in funding to date.

“Whoop has built best-in-class wearable technology and an aspirational brand that have propelled the company to an impressive period of hypergrowth,” Eric Liaw, General Partner at IVP, said in a statement.

Ahmed said Whoop members range from professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs and fitness enthusiasts. The nylon band equipped with sensors is designed to gather data to measure everything from exertion levels

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health

DOJ announces $8B-plus settlement with OxyContin maker

Preliminary CDC data show that drug overdose deaths, after a brief dip in 2018, hit a record high in 2019, with nearly 72,000 fatalities. The toll continues to climb this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Opioids, which account for most drug deaths, were involved in two out of every three drug overdose fatalities in 2018, according to the CDC.

Controversy over the agreement: The resolution with the Trump administration also includes a mandate to dissolve Purdue, with the Sacklers relinquishing all ownership and control. The company’s assets, pending the approval of a bankruptcy court, will be redirected to a government-owned “public benefit company” that will still produce OxyContin and opioid addiction treatment.

Last week, 25 state attorneys general wrote a letter urging the Justice Department against making such a move, saying the government shouldn’t benefit from sales of OxyContin, the 25-year-old drug that helped power the addiction crisis. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen defended the plan against those criticisms.

“It was also our judgment on this that while prescription opioids can be abused, diverted, misused in very harmful ways, it’s a prescription pharmaceutical that does have some positive uses, and maintaining supply of those is itself something that could be beneficial,” Rosen told reporters Wednesday.

Rosen declined to say why DOJ didn’t pursue criminal charges against the Sacklers, noting only that the civil resolution doesn’t absolve them from other legal claims.

Purdue will plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government and kickback schemes involving payments to prescribing doctors and an electronic health records company.

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health

DOJ Reaches $8 Billion Settlement With OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma | Politics

Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, reached an $8 billion settlement with the Department of Justice and will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges in connection with its role in America’s opioid crisis.

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that it had reached a resolution in its investigation into individual shareholders from the Sackler family, who own the pharmaceutical company.

Purdue Pharma will plead guilty in a New Jersey federal court to three felony counts, including one count of dual-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

The deal does not release the company’s executives or owners from criminal liability and a criminal investigation is ongoing.

“The abuse and diversion of prescription opioids has contributed to a national tragedy of addiction and deaths, in addition to those caused by illicit street opioids,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in the announcement. “With criminal guilty pleas, a federal settlement of more than $8 billion, and the dissolution of a company and repurposing its assets entirely for the public’s benefit, the resolution in today’s announcement re-affirms that the Department of Justice will not relent in its multi-pronged efforts to combat the opioids crisis.”

According to the Justice Department, the resolution includes the largest penalties ever levied against a pharmaceutical company and includes a criminal fine of $3.544 billion, an additional $2 billion in criminal forfeiture and a $2.8 billion civil settlement.

Separately, the Sackler family has agreed to pay $225 million in damages.

A Rebirth Behind Bars

June 3, 2018 | Colonial Heights, Virginia | Patsy Tucker, 32, center, prays with her family during a weekly Sunday get-together at her mother's house in Colonial Heights, Va. June 3, 2018. 

Patsy started using heroin at 25, after a car accident and a prescription for opioids turned into a full-blown heroin addiction. Patsy was born to Diana McArthur, far left, when she was 16 years old. "We grew up together," Diana said. During Patsy's years of drug abuse, Diana said she couldn't imagine it ever ending. But just over two years ago, it did. Patsy found recovery when she was locked up in the Chesterfield County Jail. As she lay on the jail floor in the throws of heroin withdrawal, Sheriff Karl Leonard told her to get up - she was going to be the first female participant of HARP (Heroin Addiction Recovery Program), an in-jail, Narcotics Anonymous-styled recovery group. "The Sheriff saw in me what I couldn't see in myself," Patsy said.

Steve Miller, who became chairman of the company’s board in 2018, said in a press release that the company “deeply regrets and accepts responsibility for the misconduct detailed by the Department of Justice.”

The company filed for bankruptcy last year as it wades through thousands of civil lawsuits. As part of the resolution, Purdue Pharma would cease to operate in its current form and would instead transition to a public benefit company owned by a trust or similar entity. The new company would be operated under different ownership and “will work to provide for free or at cost millions of doses of lifesaving opioid addiction treatment and overdose reversal medicines,” the press release stated.

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health

OxyContin maker reportedly to plead guilty to 3 criminal charges

Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, the powerful prescription painkiller that experts say helped touch off an opioid epidemic, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, Justice Department officials told The Associated Press. 



a hand holding a cup: A pharmacist holds a bottle OxyContin made by Purdue Pharma at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah


© George Frey / REUTERS
A pharmacist holds a bottle OxyContin made by Purdue Pharma at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah

The company will plead guilty to three counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws, the officials said. The resolution will be detailed in a bankruptcy court filing in federal court.

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The deal does not release any of the company’s executives or owners — members of the wealthy Sackler family — from criminal liability. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The settlement is the highest-profile display yet of the federal government seeking to hold a major drugmaker responsible for an opioid addiction and overdose crisis linked to more than 470,000 deaths in the country since 2000.

The settlement comes less than two weeks before a presidential election where the opioid epidemic has taken a political back seat to the coronavirus pandemic and other issues. But the deal does give President Donald Trump’s administration an example of action on the addiction crisis, which he promised early in his term.

As part of the resolution, Purdue will admit that it impeded the Drug Enforcement Administration by falsely representing that it had maintained an effective program to avoid drug diversion and by reporting misleading information to the agency to boost the company’s manufacturing quotas, the officials said.

A Justice Department official said Purdue had been representing to the DEA that it had “robust controls” to avoid opioid diversion but instead had been “disregarding red flags their own systems were sending up.”

Purdue will also admit to violating federal anti-kickback laws by paying doctors, through a speaking program, to induce them to write more prescriptions for the company’s opioids and for using electronic health records software to influence the prescription of pain medication, according to the officials.

Purdue will make a direct payment to the government of $225 million, which is part of a larger $2 billion criminal forfeiture. In addition to that forfeiture, Purdue also faces a $3.54 billion criminal fine, though that money probably will not be fully collected because it will be taken through a bankruptcy, which includes a large number of other creditors. Purdue will also agree to $2.8 billion in damages to resolve its civil liability.



David Sackler defends Purdue Pharma family 11:44


© Provided by CBS News
David Sackler defends Purdue Pharma family 11:44

Purdue would transform into a public benefit company, meaning it would be governed by a trust that has to balance the trust’s interests against those of the American public and public health, the officials said. The Sacklers would not be involved in the new company and part of the money from

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medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine maker soars after top respiratory expert backs drug in potentially inhibiting coronavirus



a pile of food: Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical’s medicine made from Banlangen was found to be effective against the coronavirus in a series of in-vitro studies. Photo: Baidu


Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical’s medicine made from Banlangen was found to be effective against the coronavirus in a series of in-vitro studies. Photo: Baidu

Shares of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) company jumped after receiving validation from the nation’s top respiratory expert on its drug’s effect against the coronavirus, joining two other peers that have enjoyed huge gains this year.

Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings soared 13 per cent to HK$21.75 in Hong Kong and by 10 per cent to 34.18 yuan in Shanghai on Friday, after Zhong Nanshan, the public face of China’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, said one of its products could potentially inhibit the coronavirus.

Researchers led by Zhong found that Banlangen granules, a herbal medicine popular in China for treating common cold and flu, was effective against the virus in a series of in-vitro studies, Chinese newspaper Nanfang Daily quoted him as saying during a conference on Tuesday in Guangzhou. The drug was also widely used in the country during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

Investors latched on to the hype surrounding the company even though the studies were still at an early stage and Zhong did not disclose whether or when any research paper or preclinical data will be published. The stock’s advance in Hong Kong marked its biggest daily jump since October 2018, while turnover ballooned 24 times to HK$240 million (US$31 million) from Thursday, according to Refinitiv data.



Zhong Nanshan smiling for the camera: Chinese respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan said that one of Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical's products could potentially inhibit the coronavirus. Photo: Xinhua


© Provided by South China Morning Post
Chinese respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan said that one of Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical’s products could potentially inhibit the coronavirus. Photo: Xinhua

Many pointed to the speculative nature of the surge on Friday. “In-vitro studies data is usually the weakest among preclinical data,” wrote Huang Jianping, general manager at asset management firm Shanghai Leader Capital, in a post published on online stocks forum Xueqiu.

Normally, pharmaceutical companies have to go through three phases of clinical trials on humans to establish the efficacy of the drugs, on top of evidence from animal experiments, he said. “If a Nasdaq-listed company said their drug was found to inhibit the virus in in-vitro studies, the company would be despised by the market.”

China relied heavily on traditional medicine to combat the virus earlier this year. Despite the government’s efforts to promote the use of such herbal remedies abroad, experts have warned that there is not enough evidence from clinical trials to establish their effectiveness.

Why it’s so hard for China to promote the use of traditional remedies abroad to treat Covid-19

And this is not the first time Zhong’s comments have contributed to a drug maker’s fortunes. Two Shenzhen-listed TCM companies, Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical and Tianjin Chase Sun Pharmaceutical, reaped huge profits this year, after their drugs were included in the national standard therapy for Covid-19 patients and were recommended by Zhong.

Shares of Shijiazhuang Yiling have risen 94 per cent since a March

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