uBiome's cofounders have been charged with fraud


Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I’m Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer, and this week in healthcare news:

  • Amazon’s plans to launch a nationwide telehealth business are now official;
  • Companies shared with us how they’re tapping into a polarizing Trump-era policy that lets them ditch their health plans and send workers to buy their own coverage;
  • New data on an Alzheimer’s drug showed mixed results in patients.

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I’ll be out next week, so you’ll be seeing a few new names sending this newsletter. Have tips or questions in the meantime? Email me at [email protected] or tweet @lydiaramsey125. Now, let’s get to it…

Man, what a week of healthcare news.

On Thursday, Europe’s medical regulator deemed AstraZeneca’s coronavirus shot safe after investigating instances of blood clots in vaccinated people. At one point, 18 countries had suspended use of the vaccine over safety concerns.

Here in the US, we’re still waiting for data on how well AstraZeneca’s shot performed in a trial taking place here. 

Then — remember uBiome, the poop-testing startup that crumbled in 2019 after an FBI raid? 

Well on Thursday, uBiome’s cofounders Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte were charged with fraud. They face both civil and criminal charges. 

Insider’s healthcare team chronicled the downfall of uBiome. If you want to refresh your memory, you can find all our past coverage here. 

The Amazon Care app.Amazon Care

Amazon’s push into medical care

On Friday, Blake Dodge had the scoop that Amazon was getting ready to go official with its national expansion.

Well, just a few days later, Amazon did. 

It’s going national with telehealth services this year for both its own employees and other companies. In-person care will also be available in certain cities including Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. 

It’s curious to watch Amazon push deeper into into telehealth at a time when the industry is going through a lot of changes. Cigna’s Evernorth subsidiary is buying MDLive, Grand Rounds and Doctor on Demand are merging, not to mention Teladoc’s purchase last year of Livongo. Where does the industry go from here? 

Here’s the full story on Amazon’s official plans>>

Amazon is launching its medical care business for its employees and other companies across the US

Savvy co-founders Kevin Cox and Suril KantariaSavvy

Creativity is popping up in health plans

Health plans aren’t just about medical coverage any more. 

Patricia Kelly Yeo this week took a look at a new kind of healthcare startup that wants health insurers to pay for meal kits and groceries for food-insecure seniors.

The startup works with Medicare Advantage plans to get meals for adults 65 and up who might be just leaving the hospital or otherwise managing a condition. 

Meanwhile, Shelby Livingston spent her week digging into the rising popularity of individual coverage HRAs, or ICHRAs. 

That’s a way for companies to give employees cash so they can go out and find their own coverage on the individual markets rather than through a group plan. 

And it’s saving companies millions. 

Get inside the world of HRAs here>>

Startups are racing to profit from a controversial Trump-era policy that lets big companies ditch their health plans and have employees shop for their own coverage

Patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia are sit inside the Alzheimer foundation in Mexico CityThomson Reuters

We got a look at mixed Alzheimer’s results

Over the weekend, drugmaker Eli Lilly shared results from a midstage trial that showed that its experimental treatment slowed cognitive decline by 32%

That might sound great, but it missed the mark on other metrics it was intended to hit, Allison DeAngelis reports.

The data didn’t meet investors’ expectations, so Lilly’s stock took a tumble on Monday.

Dig deeper here>>

New data on Eli Lilly’s experimental Alzheimer’s drug backs a hotly debated scientific theory, but shows mixed benefits for patients

DispatchHealth clinicians treat patients in their homes.Nathan Hindman for Dispatch Health

Tiger Global recently started betting big on digital health

Since November, it’s felt like every major digital health funding round has had one name attached to it: Tiger Global. 

That’s especially been the case in funding rounds that have catapulted digital health startups into billion-dollar valuations, like DispatchHealth and Cedar. 

Kelly found that in the last four months, Tiger Global has bet on 11 different digital health startups, a sharp uptick in activity. 

Here’s the full list of Tiger Global’s latest digital health bets>>

$50 billion Tiger Global has been on a digital-health funding spree. Here are the 11 startups it’s backed in the past 4 months.

More stories that kept us busy this week:

  • See the presentation that convinced CapitalG to back kidney care startup Strive Health in a $140 million round. 
  • Find out how 5 top DNA-testing companies like 23andMe and Color are shaping the next chapter of the genetics industry.
  • ElevateBio’s CEO told us how he plans to use the cash from a SoftBank-backed $525 million round to support a genetic revolution in medicine.
  • A top exec at Oscar joined the board of vape company Juul.

– Lydia

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

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