130,000+ Americans spend $100K on drugs, another lawsuit for Olympus America (Morning Read)

Virginia Mason Medical Center is suing for deaths from faulty scopes, learn why drug super users are growing and some good news for the likes of Vertex.

TOP STORIES

Healthcare’s big spenders: About 575,000 Americans spent at least $50,000 in prescription drug last year and 139,000 of those went over $100,000. And there’s this: “Costs are increasingly driven by the latest biologic medicines, which are hailed for their effectiveness, but jeered for their high costs.”

Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle has now joined a lawsuit against the endoscopy medical scope manufacturer, Olympus America Inc., for putting patients at risk for the “superbug” outbreak because of design flaws.

At least Between 2012 and 2014, at least 32 patients were infected and at least 11 people eventually died, though the role of the superbug in their demise was unclear because all the patients were critically ill at the time of their infection, Washington state public health officials said.

LIFE SCIENCE

Vertex’s cystic fibrosis treatment, Orkambi, has been recommended for FDA approval.

Just a little setback for Orexigen Therapeutics’s obesity drug Contrave.

Baxter International said Tuesday it would buy a promising leukemia treatment, Oncaspar, from Italian company Sigma-Tau Finanziaria S.p.A. for $900 million

AstraZeneca steps up on precision mediicne: it will develop a diagnostic with Abbott to identify asthma patients who could benefit from AZ’s tralokinumab. Also, it will work with the Montreal Heart Institute to screen for genetic traits linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Medtronic announced concurrent FDA and CE-mark approval of the latest generation of its stroke-fighting Arctic Front Advance ST Cryoablation Catheter.

PAYERS-PROVIDERS

Mayo Clinic reported its operating surplus fell to $88 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, down from $155 million a year ago.

The CEO of HealthCare.gov on said states would not be able to immediately set up their own insurance marketplaces if the Supreme Court rules against Obamacare this summer.

HCA is expanding in Florida.

TECH

New York City-based startup Talkspace, which offers therapy sessions via the web and mobile devices, has raised $9.5 million in a round led by Spark Capital, with participation from SoftBank.

Launching a health app in Europe? Start with the United Kingdom.

Cincinnati software company Electronic Commerce Link has created the EMS SignPost refrigerator magnet embedded with an NFC, or near-field communication chip, which allows emergency workers to retrieve a patient’s health records by tapping a phone against it.

POLITICS

A newly revised guidance document published by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides additional insight into how the agency plans to regulate biosimilar products.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has planned a markup for its signature legislation to overhaul drug development know as 21st Century Cures.

We’ve got lawsuits over Medicaid rates in Oregon.

Men who have had sex with other men will be allowed to donate blood under some conditions if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalizes “draft guidance” published on Tuesday.

A LITTLE EXTRA

NASA’s new radar technology was able to detect the heartbeats of men trapped under 10 feet of rubble due to Nepalese earthquake.

NASA deployed two prototypes of the new search-and-rescue technology, called FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response), which uses microwave-radar to pinpoint faint heartbeats, allowing emergency teams to respond accordingly.

The Morning Read provides a 24-hour wrap up of everything else healthcare’s innovators need to know about the business of medicine (and beyond). The author of The Read published it but all full-time MedCity News journalists contribute to its content.