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The exciting new idea hospitals have to bring down drug prices
vox

A network of hospitals is joining forces to produce cheaper alternatives to generic drugs to combat egregious pharmaceutical price hikes and drug shortages.

The not-for-profit venture is called Civica Rx: a collaboration of 22 hospitals in the Salt Lake City area called Intermountain Healthcare, the Mayo Clinic, the for-profit health care facilities company HCA Healthcare, and philanthropic foundations are pulling together to form the organization. Their mission? Simply to produce a cheaper, more accessible version of generic drugs that are in short supply and/or whose prices have risen dramatically.

WHY IT MATTERS: Last month, NPR reported injections for anemic disorders, IV bags, and a tissue-numbing agent are just a few of the generic medicines that have recently experienced shortages. And to bring the true scope of the generic drug pricing problem to scale, the article cites that the Justice Department and 45 states are currently in court accusing generic drug makers of price gouging and costing Americans more than $1 billion for their medicines.

Taking these factors into account, Civica Rx represents a realistic means of addressing the problem of small market generic pricing, and provides a collaborative solution to the issue of shortages of medicine.

 
New Partnership Aims to Make Payments More Sustainable
businesswire

Mastercard and card manufacturers Gemalto, Giesecke+Devrient and IDEMIA have just announced their Greener Payments Partnership, aimed at establishing better environmental practices and reducing first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing. The partnership additionally commits to accelerating research within recyclable, bio-sourced, and biodegradable materials, with the goal of delivering globally available solutions to reduce first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing in a matter of years.

WHY IT MATTERS: Approximately six billion plastic payment cards are made each year, according to the article. While Mastercard analysis shows that this accounts for less than 0.015 percent of plastic manufactured each year, there still remains much room to improve through the use of alternative materials.

 

Uber’s mysterious new business LOOKS A LOT LIKE A TEMP AGENCY
vanity fair

Ride-hailing and software giant Uber is making a cross-sector venture into a new, unexpected market: on-demand staffing. Soon, Uber’s on-demand services, in addition to ride-sharing and food delivery, could include workers ranging from private security guards to waiters.

The project is known as Uber Works, and is still being developed in Chicago, but has the potential to eventually allow gig workers everywhere to find new sources of income.

WHY IT MATTERS: With this new project, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is acknowledging the power and potential of the gig economy. By crossing into a new industry and allowing both employees and employers to create their own schedules and sources of income and labor, Uber is once again disrupting the paradigm of traditional employment models.