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Today in healthcare news: An inside look at Papa, a startup that’s tapping into the growing gig economy in healthcare, the limitations of what vaccine results can tell us about transmission, and a new approach to taking on the massive middlemen in the pharmacy industry.
Investors are betting big that Papa can succeed by applying Uber’s gig-work strategy to home care. We spoke to 9 ‘grandkids on demand’ for an inside look at the future of healthcare.
- Home care startup Papa is one of several startups that want to bring the gig economy, popularised by rideshare company Uber, to healthcare.
- In healthcare, gig workers are mostly confined to home care or office administrative work given the required training for most other roles.
- Like Uber in its heyday, investors and insiders are optimistic that the gig economy could upend the healthcare industry by reducing costs and offering flexible employment options at a time when unemployment keeps rising across the country.
- However, some experts are more cautious, saying that the pandemic has presented a unique opportunity for gig workers that may not be sustainable in the long run.
Moderna’s chief medical officer says that vaccine trial results only show that they prevent people from getting sick â€” not necessarily that recipients won’t still be able to transmit the virus
- Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks told Axios that the public should not “over-interpret” the vaccine trial results to assume life could go back to normal after adults are vaccinated.
- “They do not show that they prevent you from potentially carrying this virus transiently and infecting others,” Zaks told Axios.
- While he believes, based on the science, that it’s likely that vaccine does prevent transmission, but said there’s still no solid proof of that yet.
- “I think it’s important that we don’t change behaviour solely on the basis of vaccination,” he said.
Healthcare’s top VCs backed a startup’s unsuccessful attempt to unseat a massive part of the $US335 billion prescription-drug business. Now, WithMe is back with $US20 million with another approach to take on the industry.
- WithMe Health, a startup that took on pharmacy benefits managers in addition to providing personalised medication counseling, raised $US20 million in Series B funding on Tuesday.
- The startup initially wanted to unseat pharmacy benefits managers, one of the healthcare industry’s most powerful and entrenched middlemen that negotiate prescription discounts on behalf of employers and health plans.
- CEO Joe Murad said WithMe signed its first large customer in late October, and has expanded its services to include medication guidance, which maintains a relationship with patients before, during, and after they have filled a prescription at a pharmacy.
More stories we’re reading:
- Here are the 17 digital health startups that are ripe for a Wall Street debut (Business Insider)
- AstraZeneca’s successful half-dose followed by a full dose vaccine regimen was the result of an error (Reuters)
- AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19, trial results suggest. Here’s everything we know so far. (Business Insider)
- Hospitalized patients are surviving at higher rates, but the recent surge in cases could set that back (Stat News)
See you tomorrow for my last dispatch for the holiday week! Until then, be sure to subscribe here if you haven’t yet!
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