September 1, 2020

Around the nation: FDA commissioner fires senior staffer following exaggerated convalescent plasma claims

Daily Briefing

    FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn last week fired a senior public relations staffer at the agency, as the agency faced pushback over claims Hahn made regarding convalescent plasma as an experimental treatment for Covid-19, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

    • California: Southern California-based GoodRx, a company that helps consumers find and access discounts on prescription drugs, filed initial public offering documents on Friday and will appear on the Nasdaq as GDRX. The company's filing showed that it brought in $55 million during the first half of this year, up 75% from the $31 million the company brought in during the first half of 2019. According to the filing, the company's revenue for the first half of this year was $257 million, up 48% from its $173 million of revenue during the first half of 2019 (Farr, CNBC, 8/28; Malara/Sen, Reuters, 8/28).

    • Maryland: FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn last week fired a senior public relations staffer at the agency, as the agency faced pushback over claims Hahn made regarding convalescent plasma as an experimental treatment for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. FDA late last month issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) allowing providers to use convalescent plasma to treat patients hospitalized with Covid-19, sparking mixed reactions from public health experts—some of whom expressed concerns that there isn't yet enough data showing the experimental treatment is effective. At the time, Hahn said data from a clinical trial on the potential treatment showed that convalescent plasma reduced the risk of death among Covid-19 patients involved in the study by 35%—echoing a statistic that President Trump had cited earlier when announcing the EUA. However, Hahn later publicly apologized for citing that statistic, which he said overstated the potential life-saving benefits of the experimental therapy. Following the incident, sources at FDA confirmed to CNN that Hahn last week fired Emily Miller, who had been serving as FDA's chief spokesperson for just a few days and was responsible for prepping Hahn and creating press materials on the EUA, though Miller will continue to serve as an "appointee" at the agency (Collins/Acosta, CNN, 8/28; Perrone/Riechmann, Associated Press, 8/25; McGinley/Abutaleb, Washington Post, 8/28; New York Times, 8/31).

    • Pennsylvania: Geisinger Health announced that Mark McCullough is the new CFO and COO of Geisinger Health Plan (GHP). McCullough replaced Kurt Wrobel, who had been serving as GHP's president since June, when Steve Youso, GHP's former CEO and EVP, retired. McCullough previously worked at Humana, were he had served as VP and CFO of the insurer's pharmacy benefit manager, Humana Pharmacy Solutions (Livingston, Modern Healthcare, 8/28).
    X
    Cookies help us improve your website experience. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.