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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by PhRMA: More medical marijuana problems; banning microbeads

Dear readers: POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it at that time, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York health care policy news throughout the day, please contact us at and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Dan Goldberg

MORE MED MARIJUANA PROBLEMS — Bloomfield Industries, one of the five companies awarded a medical marijuana license, won’t be able to put one of its dispensaries in North Hempstead as they intended. Newsday reports that the town supervisor said she was never notified.

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SCHNEIDERMAN GOES AFTER TURING — Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has decided to look into Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that increased the price of a 62-year-old infection drug from $13.50 per tablet to $750, according to The New York Times. “The attorney general’s office is looking not so much at the price increase itself but at whether Turing may have violated antitrust rules by restricting distribution of the drug, Daraprim, as a way to thwart generic competition, according to a letter sent by the attorney general’s office to Turing on Monday," the Times reported. Last Thursday, POLITICO New York asked the Attorney General if he intended to look into the company, and Schneiderman, at the time, was non-committal, saying he was on top of the situation but the federal government was ultimately responsible.

NOW WE KNOW — Your bath towel is gross and should be washed at least twice a week, according to Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at the New York University School of Medicine, who spoke to Tech Insider. “The moment you use it, it becomes a breeding ground of bacteria; fungi; dead skin cells; salivary, anal, and urinary secretions; and many other germs lingering in your bathroom that may have hopped onto your towel — including droplets from your toilet.” (Full Disclosure: I do not wash my bath towel twice a week, and don’t even ask about my bathrobe.)

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** A message from PhRMA: In 2013 alone, the biopharmaceutical industry invested more than $553 million dollars in clinical trials in New York. Learn more about the economic impact of clinical trials in our communities at **

EFFECTS OF DRUGS — The Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shields today will release its latest infographic showing the effects of price increases for specialty drugs. The insurer wants to make the case that these price hikes are why consumers are paying more for their insurance. Though specialty drugs make up only 1 percent of the market, they account for one-third of all spending, up from 25 percent in 2012. Pharmaceutical companies insist these prices help pay for innovation, research and development.

TAKING MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS — Counties across New York State are banning, or considering banning, microbeads after the state failed to do so, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

PHARMA REPORT: Eli Lilly discontinued development of a cholesterol-lowering treatment that investors had hoped would boost the stock price. The drug, evacetrapib, a CETP inhibitor, wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. What comes next? Pharmalot’s Ed Silverman has the answer.

…The pharma company also announced plans to add 50 new jobs and expand its biotech center in New York City, according to the Commercial Observer. “The Indiana-based company said its plans to add 30,000 square feet of office space at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, a research and development site at 430 East 29th Street, The Wall Street Journal first reported.”


-FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS — The New York Times looks at the challenge insurers and navigators have keeping customers enrolled once they have signed up for a plan through the Affordable Care Act.

-CALLING ALL PATHOLOGISTS — The Wall Street Journal examines the dearth of practicing medical examiners throughout the nation. “There are about 500 practicing board-certified forensic pathologists in the U.S., less than half the amount needed, based on the number of autopsies that have to be done, according to the National Commission on Forensic Science. The longstanding problem has persisted as the number of new professionals barely keeps pace with retirements.”

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Community Healthcare Network, which reminds us: “October is Health Literacy Month! When providers use health literacy universal precautions, patients are more likely to adhere to medication, follow treatment plans, and have better health outcomes. Learn more by attending Health Literacy Training Institute at Community Healthcare Network.”


-A NEW SYNDROME? — A Weill Cornell Medicine professor, writing in Annals of Internal Medicine, argues that age-associated financial vulnerability, or AAFV, should be considered a clinical condition. AAFV, according to Dr. Mark Lachs, The Irene F. and I. Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, is defined as imprudent financial decision-making that begins at a late age and puts older adults at risk for material losses. “AAFV is a public health crisis,” Lachs said. “We’ve all encountered patients who seem to be cognitively normal and have normal neuropsychological testing but continue to make very poor and unsound financial decisions.”

-BEST TIME TO BE BORN — Women born during the summer are more likely to be healthy adults, according to a study in Heliyon. The theory is that more sunlight and vitamin D exposure during the second trimester might be the reason.

** A message from PhRMA: Every day in New York, countless people fight life-threatening diseases. Their bravery inspires countless researchers and scientists across the country in their quest to develop medicines that help patients live longer, healthier lives. Here in New York, the biopharmaceutical industry has invested more than $553 million during the 2,476 clinical trials that took place in 2013 alone. Each step brings us closer to a cure. To learn more, please visit **

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 10/12, 10/9, 10/8. 10/7 10/6

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