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Morning Read: Senate hears of drug price gouging; Martin Shkreli is a big Wu-Tang fan

Also, U.S. infant mortality plunges, Mexico approves dengue vaccine and conservative group offers a substantive Obamacare alternative.


The first congressional hearing on potential drug price gouging in light of the recent controversy featured horror stories from physicians and hospital officials, but unpopular pharma executives, including Turing’s Martin Shkreli and Valeant’s J. Michael Pearson, were not there to be grilled. — Reuters

The one-off Wu-Tang Clan album, “Once Upon A Time in Shaolin,” has been bought for $2 million by none other than everybody’s favorite “douchebag pharmaceutical CEO,” the aforementioned Shkreli. — Consequence of Sound


Mexico has become the first nation to approve Sanofi’s vaccine for dengue fever, but will middle-income countries be able to afford it? — The Wall Street Journal

EndoStim, a St. Louis-based maker of a neurostimulator for GERD treatment, has withdrawn plans for a $35 million IPO. — MassDevice

Similarly, Roche spinout Basilea Pharmaceutica is pulling back its planned $190 million U.S. IPO. — FierceBiotech

Cindy Whitehead, who shepherded Sprout Pharmaceuticals through development of female libido drug Addyi and then the sale of the company to embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals, has stepped down as CEO. — The News & Observer

Allena Pharmaceuticals has closed a $53 million Series C round. — PE Hub

Following a safety review, Canadian regulators have found no new risks associated with HPV vaccine Gardasil. — Toronto Star

A drug that has been off the market for years has won FDA approval for treatment of a rare neuromuscular disorder, periodic paralysis. — Futurity/University of Rochester


UC Davis School of Medicine is launching a precision-medicine initiative. — Sacramento Business Journal

Infant mortality hit an all-time low in the U.S. in 2014, though the country still may trail many other Western nations in that department. — The New York Times

Health officials in the Boston area have determined that the latest incidence of Chipotle food poisoning is due to norovirus; at least 120 Boston College students have been affected. — The Wall Street Journal

Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare is looking to form a partnership with Athens (Ga.) Regional Health System, some 70 miles away. — Atlanta Business Chronicle

Former Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO Paul Levy said too many hospitals are “truly cost centers in search of revenue streams” rather than places of healing. — Not Running A Hospital

Publisher Mary Ann Liebert wants the new peer-reviewed “journalzine” Healthcare Transformation to be a publication of record in the world of innovation in healthcare delivery. — EurekAlert

$2.1 billion for a hospital complex? Have you priced San Francisco real estate lately? — San Francisco Business Times

Behavioral health and child-welfare specialist KVC Health Systems will have a new CEO on Jan. 1. — Kansas City Business Journal


Stealth startup Neosensory has raised $4.2 million to develop a sensory vest that promises to help deaf people learn to “hear” by sensing vibrations. — MassDevice

The global market for remote patient monitoring devices will approach $1 billion by 2020, according to a new study. — PR Newswire


Finally, a conservative group, the American Enterprise Institute, offers a well-thought-out agenda for healthcare reform, not just “repeal Obamacare.” — Health Affairs

Flexibility built into new UAW contracts with the Big Three auto-makers allows management to impose deductibles on workers so the companies can avoid paying the so-called Cadillac Tax on expensive health plans. — The Wall Street Journal

Once upon a time, there was bipartisan cooperation in this country, and that produced the Bayh-Dole Act, which has unleashed innovation for the last 35 years. — Stat


An injured British soldier’s post criticizing the West’s antagonistic view toward Muslims has gone viral. It’s a must read.

 Yes. A Muslim man blew me up, and I lost my leg.

A Muslim man also lost his arm that day wearing a British Uniform.

A Muslim medic was in the helicopter that took me from the field

A Muslim surgeon performed the surgery that saved my life

A Muslim Nurse was part of the team that helped me when I returned to the UK

A Muslim Healthcare Assistant was part of the team that sorted out my day to day needs in rehabilitation when I was learning to walk

A Muslim taxi driver gave me a free ride the first time I went for a beer with my Dad after I came home.

CNN, Facebook

Photo: U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging