It was another busy week on the healthcare desk here at Business Insider, with news that National Cancer Institute director Dr. Ned Sharpless will be acting FDA commissioner when Dr. Scott Gottlieb steps down. We were also following developments from Silicon Valley startups, both new ones, and one whose founders have since faced criminal charges (ahem, Theranos).
But first, I wanted to bring to your attention a report I put out over the weekend about free-standing emergency rooms. Curious to hear what you all have experienced with these new, not-hospital-connected set-ups.
I’ve been mulling over what the future of the hospital might look like, and it’s seeming like these centres – as well as versions that are affiliated with a larger hospital – might be a part of it. But an expensive.
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It was a big day for West-Coast-based startup news, as I finally wrote about the pharmacy that’s powering so many of the direct-to-consumer startups that seemingly pop up overnight.
Meet Truepill. It’s been the pharmacy behind companies like Nurx and Hims, shipping out birth control and erectile dysfunction medications around the country.
Meet the pharmacy quietly powering hot startups like Hims and Nurx that ship Viagra and birth-control pills straight to your door
- Meet Truepill, the pharmacy startup that has been quietly powering companies that prescribe and ship Viagra and birth control to customers’ doors.
- The startup, which describes itself as a “pharmacy API and fulfillment service,” works with companies like Hims, Nurx, and Lemonaid by filling prescriptions and sending them out around the US.
- With $US14 million in funding from investors led by Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital, Truepill is plotting its international expansion.
Interestingly, Truepill’s working with drug-pricing website GoodRx, which these days has a whole marketplace of online options for consumers to get mailed their prescriptions instead of going in-person.
Rounding out a busy Tuesday, Emma Court had the scoop on e-cig restrictions, just ahead of the official decision Wednesday.
The US plans to restrict sales of candy-flavored e-cigs at convenience stores before the top FDA leader leaves office
- The US Food and Drug Administration will soon announce broad restrictions on where flavored e-cigarettes are sold.
- FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Business Insider he is “100% certain” that it will be settled before he leaves the job in a few weeks. Gottlieb gave notice this month that he’s resigning to spend more time with his family.
- The change “will effectively mean that they’re not going to be sold in convenience stores in the way they’re being sold right now,” Gottlieb said.
Spoiler alert: The restrictions came the following morning.
Erin, following the crack-down, had a good piece analysing how the move might impact e-cigarette makers like Juul.
Regulators are cracking down on vaping, but that might actually be good news for the standout e-cig maker Juul
- On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration’s outgoing chief announced moves that would crack down further on flavored versions of e-cigarettes, such as Juul products.
- Juul products represent 80% of the e-cigarette market. In advance of the FDA’s announcement, the company chose to pull its fruit-flavored varieties from retail stores last fall.
- Wall Street analysts think the FDA’s moves could positively influence Juul by “levelling the playing field” with other e-cigarette makers, who may now need to follow Juul’s lead.
And who’s getting excited about the HBO Theranos documentary?? I’ve already watched it twice. “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” from award-winning director Alex Gibney debuts Monday on HBO at 9 p.m. ET. ABC’s “20/20” documentary “The Dropout” debuts Friday at 9 p.m. ET for those who can’t wait until then or who want all the Theranos content they can get.
In the meantime, I chatted with Gibney earlier this week to get a sense of how the movie came together, thanks in large part to some incredible leaked footage (definitely keep an eye out for the gift card commercial – it is WILD).
100 hours of leaked footage, a bouncy house, and MC Hammer: How HBO’s documentary on disgraced blood-testing company Theranos came together
- In “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” director Alex Gibney explores how the blood-testing startup Theranos and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, went from tech darlings to the company shutting down and Holmes facing criminal charges.
- Along the way, Gibney got his hands on 100 hours of leaked footage from within the company, and HBO went to court to unseal deposition footage from Theranos’ court case with investors.
- The documentary, available on Monday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, includes footage from all-hands meetings and company parties, as well as video of Holmes dancing to “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer.
In the meantime, thoughts, tips, reactions to the influx of new Theranos content? Find me at [email protected] or the whole healthcare team here at [email protected]
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