Healthcare reform discourse and Arizona’s shooting (Morning Read)

Among today’s current medical news: Healthcare reform’s place in the Arizona shooting, a shocking J & J lawsuit, the fall of Paul Levy and a freshly closed $200 million investment fund in San Diego.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone that cares about the healthcare industry.

Political tenor and health reform. The shooter of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was deeply disturbed. But the attack has also spurred a discussion on the tenor of political debate. When I think of over-the-top language in Arizona, I think of immigration. But it turns out last year’s US healthcare reform bill was more perilous for Giffords.

The health care law has been a flashpoint in Arizona. During the debate over the bill in August 2009, a protester at a Giffords event dropped a gun; police escorted him out. On the night the law passed in Washington with her support, a window in her district office was smashed.

Giffords had also openly complained about the way Sarah Pailin put Giffords’ district in crosshairs over healthcare reform (Giffords backed President Obama’s plan).

So how will this alter efforts to change the current healthcare reform law? There’s been one tangible change in healthcare reform because of the Giffords tragedy: the vote on health reform repeal has been delayed. But, amid calls for political civility and unity, the jockeying has started. Don’t look for anything to change on the healthcare reform front. Just expect the confrontations to be delayed.

J &J lawsuit that even stuns insiders. Via Pharmalot: “The 111-page complaint reads like an indictment as it delves into off-label marketing of prescription drugs, kickback schemes and manufacturing failures that led to those infamous product recalls of tens of millions of over-the-counter meds and surgical devices.” One section reads: “J&J Suffers Fundamental Control Breakdowns Across All of its Business Segments Over the Better Part of the Past Decade.” Read the entire lawsuit here.

Dealflow and more. Avalon Ventures, which includes a focus on life science investments, has raised a $200 million fund;  biologics preservation company Denator raised $1.7 million; bone products company Doctors Research Group raised $7.7 million, biopharma Covagen raised $6.5 million; consumer genetic testing company 23andMe raised $9 million; and  animal health company Aratana Therapeutics raised $20 million.

The Fall of Paul Levy. One of the most high profile hospital CEOs departs amid a cloud. In an e-mail to staff, Levy wrote: “Over the last nine years, I have certainly made mistakes of degree, emphasis, and judgment. I have apologized to you directly for some of those, but I do so again, in the hope that such errors will not overshadow the many accomplishments and contributions of our hospital to the community and the health care industry. On the personal level, if I have slighted any one of you in any way or given you any cause for concern about my warm regard and respect for you, I doubly apologize.”  He will continue his blog.