Time for Medicare chief Berwick to hit the bricks? (Morning Read)

Among today’s current medical news: Obama is urged to dump his Medicare chief; the iPad 2.0 holds promise for healthcare; the happiest man in the world; and more pharma layoffs.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about the healthcare industry:

Time for Berwick to hit the bricks? Congressional leaders — including Democrats — see Medicare chief Donald Berwick as “uncomfirmable” by the Senate and want President Obama to send forth a different nominee for the post. Berwick says the White House has his back, but will Obama and friends abandon him?

What does the iPad 2 mean for healthcare? iPad version 2.0 will set the stage this year for further advancements in mobile health at hospitals, physician offices, and other healthcare delivery organizations, according to Information Week.

Happiness is a tall Hawaiian? The New York Times asked Gallup to come up with a statistical composite for the happiest person in America, based on the latter’s Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The answer? He’s a tall, Asian-American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business and has a household income of more than $120,000 a year.

Pharma layoffs: Sanofi-Aventis plans 700 job cuts in Europe, while Eisai plans to cut 600 jobs, or 20 percent of its workforce, by April 1.

Why mess up a good thing? There’s no need for Republicans to offer specifics on an alternative to ObamaCare, because their base is fired up from their “all-out assault” on the Obama health plan.

Gates Foundation gets into biotech investing: Next-generation vaccines maker Liquidia Technologies gets a $10 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.