Hawaii is first state to raise smoking age to 21, Cigna rejects another Anthem pass (Morning Read)

Until now, only two cities raised age barriers to buying cigarettes — New York City and Honolulu.


Hawaii became the first state to raise smoking age to 21 as a way to make a dent in the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Deaths derived from cigarette smoking account for more than 480,000 deaths annually. Until now, two cities raised age barriers to buying cigarettes — New York City and Honolulu.

Cigna rejected a second approach by Anthem to acquire the company. Among its list of reasons aside from disagreeing on who should lead the combined business was Anthem’s patient data security breach in February.


Arivale, a biotech startup gearing up for a launch by genomics pioneer Lee Hood, is described as “a revolutionary new wellness company combining cutting-edge science, an intimate and unprecedented view of your body, and personalized coaching to help you achieve your unique wellness potential.”

Bluebird Bio hired Phillip Gregory, the former Chief Scientific Officer of Sangamo Biosciences to be its next CSO.


The New York Times highlights some of the factors contributing to the decline in deaths from coronary heart disease, including the introduction of less invasive procedures to help people experiencing heart attacks get treatment in shorter amounts of time.

Eight people, including a Montefiore Medical Center employee, were indicted on charges of stealing personal information from more than 12,000 patients. The employee sold the patient information to co-conspirators who used it for shopping sprees at department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, and Victoria’s Secret.

A study by Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority identified 285 cases of hospital food errors, mostly related to allergies, some involved meals delivered to patients who were not meant to receive food by mouth.


Sense.ly, a digital health startup that uses avatars as virtual nurses, raised $2.2 million in a Series A round supported by Launchpad Digital Health, Fenox Venture Capital, and TA Ventures. MedCity News interviewed Sense.ly co-founder Ivana Schnur in 2013.

Digital health startup Sano has raised $10.25 million to construct a metabolic activity tracking wearable.


A few provisions in the 21st Century Cures bill on medical device clinical trials, antibiotics and informed consent have raised some eyebrows.
For example, one proposal redefines the evidence on which high-risk devices can be approved to include case studies, registries, and articles in the medical
literature instead of more rigorous clinical trials.

It would also give hospitals a bonus for administering costly, new but unproven antibiotics. The bill also gives the secretary of health and human services the authority to expand this nontraditional approval pathway to other drug categories as well, if “the public health would benefit from expansion.”


IBM switches its attention to a different kind of cloud computing: storm clouds. It is rolling out an Intelligent Operations Center for Emergency Management with the Weather Company to predict and plan for weather events and natural disasters.

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.

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