Pfizer, Allergan Merge to Create World’s Largest Drug Maker

Photograph by Shutterstock

Photograph by Shutterstock

Pfizer and Allergan have struck a $160 billion merger deal that would create the world’s largest drug maker. It’s yet another example of a merger in the ever-consolidating health care sector and a deal that allows an American company to reincorporate overseas to save tax dollars.

The deal is sure to shake up the pharmaceutical industry — and have Philly-area companies watching closely. Pfizer has research operation in Collegeville, Pa. but is based in New York. Allergan is based in Ireland. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016. Read more »

“Heroin Antidote” Nasal Spray Gets FDA Approval

Narcan Nasal Spray can be administered in an emergency to reverse the effects of opioid overdose until help arrives.

Narcan Nasal Spray can be administered in an emergency to reverse the effects of opioid overdose until help arrives.

Heroin usage has reached epidemic proportions in the United States — and families in Philadelphia have certainly been feeling its wrath. In fact, deaths nationally from the drug have quadrupled from 2002 to 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adapt Pharma Limited, which has its U.S. headquarters in Radnor, Pa., has a drug to help combat the heroin overdose problem — and overdoses from other opioids. On Thursday, it just won Food and Drug Administration approval. Read more »

Penn Study: Paying Patients, Doctors Leads to Lower Cholesterol

(Irenaphoto/Shutterstock )

(Irenaphoto/Shutterstock )

What’s the best way to lower people’s cholesterol? Offer financial rewards to both patients and doctors when people take their allotted medications at the appropriate times. That was the main finding from a recently published University of Pennsylvania-led study.

It’s easy to understand why a financial reward gives patients incentives to take their medicine (typically statins like Lipitor). But why pay doctors too? Read more »

Two Philly Hospitals Have New Partner: Abu Dhabi

(Photo: ME NewsWire)

(Photo: ME NewsWire)

Two Philadelphia hospitals recently announced partnerships with an Abu Dhabi health care provider. Although both partnerships are preliminary and little detail has been offered — it opens the door for increased collaboration between Philly and the growing health care market in the United Arab Emirates.

On Monday, the University of Pennsylvania Health System entered into a strategic partnership with VPS Healthcare, which has more than 7,500 employees, 650 physicians and serves 2 million patients per year, according to the company. Read more »

A Mouthpiece that Detects Concussions and More Local Health Care Innovations

Saurabh Radhakrishnan introduces the crowd to GraphWear.

Saurabh Radhakrishnan introduces the crowd to GraphWear. (Photo by Bryan Karl Lathrop/Courtesy of DreamIt.)

Health care is at a crossroads and all players in the market basically want the same three things: Increased access to care, lower costs and better results. So plenty of companies are looking for innovations in new places — like startups companies. So DreamIt Health (an offshoot of Philly-based DreamIt Ventures) offers a select group of startups $50,000 in seed capital, coaching by hand-selected mentors, free workspace, legal counsel and access to resources in the health care space.

The most recent DreamIt Health innovations were on display Monday at the Demo Day. Read more »

Yet Another Hospital Merger in the Works


Crozer-Keystone Health System has finally found its dance partner. The company announced in October 2014 that it was exploring strategic partnerships — and on Monday signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Prospect Medical Holdings Inc.

Crozer-Keystone bills itself as the largest employer and provider of health-care services in Delaware County, and consists of five hospitals and a network of primary care and specialty practices. But it’s been in financial trouble lately, and had to lay off 250 employees in February 2014. Read more »

Jefferson Aims to Acquire Aria Health


In the wild world of Philadelphia health care mergers, a doozie may be on the horizon.

On Tuesday, Jefferson Health and Aria Health signed a letter of intent to allow discussions on integrating Aria into Jefferson. The combined organization would have 22,900 employees, 4,384 physicians and 2,236 inpatient beds. It will also mean that three hospitals: Aria Health Frankford, Aria Health Torresdale, and Aria Health Bucks County would join Jeffersons roster of hospitals. Read more »

Meet the 31 Year Old Revolutionizing Health Care One Blood Test at a Time

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaking at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia. (Glen Davis/ Forbes)

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaking at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia. (Glen Davis/ Forbes)

Elizabeth Holmes is on a mission to change blood tests forever. Why should it cost $5,000 and take days when test results are extremely critical and time sensitive?

That was Holmes’ drive behind creating Theranos, a laboratory-services company that uses a cheap, painless prick to test blood for a number of diseases. Valued at $9 billion, its made Holmes not only the nation’s richest self-made woman, but also its youngest female billionaire. Read more »

First Round Capital Makes Largest Investment Ever


Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital.

First Round Capital has made its largest venture capital investment yet — a $4 million investment in Clover Health.

First Round Partner Josh Kopelman wrote in a blog post announcing the deal that the organization’s investments typically amount to about $500,000 to $600,000 — but it’s offering much more to Clover Health because “its mission to improve health care and drive down medical costs is big, ambitious and vital.” Read more »

Gov. Corbett to Outline Medicaid Expansion, Work-Search Requirements

Tom Corbett has a plan to provide insurance for 500,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians as part of his proposed Medicaid changes—all you’ve got to do is get a job.

In an announcement today, Corbett will discuss his Medicaid plans, including a scheme to provide insurance for the poor uninsured by using public money for commercial insurance policies. This is the latest in a series of steps Corbett has taken to expand the state’s Medicaid coverage, all without increasing the role of Medicaid itself. The solution, naturally, is private providers.

The state, however, won’t support applicants here unless they pass a work-search requirement, which forces those applying to look for work before they can receive healthcare. That health care, by the way, bases co-pay on income and caps them at $25 a month. Pennsylvania is the only state in the country to follow that framework.

Low-income resident advocates have since taken issue with Corbett’s projected plan:

“What’s bad about it is that under the guise of reaching out to cover people with health insurance, they are going to take benefits away from an awful lot of people,” said Richard Weishaupt, senior attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. “Welfare provides a mom and a kid $316 a month, and they get Medicaid. How in the world are they going to come up with $25 for health insurance?”

Presumably from the $316 monthly welfare check, which that hypothetical mother can only then receive if she’s looking for work already. Choosing between being healthy and eating is nothing new for the lower class. Right, Tom? []

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