Dispensed: Layoffs at uBiome, why mental health funding is booming, and Microsoft’s bet on partnerships with Walgreens and Providence

Donald Trump Alex Azar


Hope everyone had a restful 4th! I spent the weekend at a friend’s lake with my dog who loves to swim (he’s been very sleepy this week).

With the benefit of a day or two off, the Business Insider healthcare team was ready to hit the ground running with all the news that came our way this week: from kidney initiatives coming out of Washington, to Nurx’s launch of STD kits, to an HIV drug’s move into late-stage trials, and of course the nixed rebate rule plans also coming from our nation’s capital. More on that in a few.

But first, are you new to our newsletter? You can sign up for Dispensed here.

First up, the biggest news we were tracking this week was the layoffs at microbiome-testing company uBiome. We’ve been chronicling the troubles at the company for a few months now, since an FBI raid of the company’s headquarters in late April.

On Wednesday, the new executives heading the company let half of its 229 employees go, a significant chunk of which were a part of the company’s Latin America operations.

Erin Brodwin was there on the scene to hear reactions from those who had been laid off.

‘A s— show’: uBiome just cut half its staff as the troubled poop-testing startup searches for a path forward after an FBI raid

Some of my favorite tidbits she picked up: one employee was playing the classic Phil Collins song “You’ll Be In My Heart.” Another, in reference to a payroll error that accidentally alerted some employees they had been laid off, said aloud, “It was a s— show on Monday, it’s a s— show today.”

A number of key employees at the company were let go on Wednesday, including the laboratory director, which meant that uBiome had to stop running its remaining test, the Explorer, Erin reported late Wednesday.

Just catching up on uBiome? You can find more of our coverage of the troubled startup here.

Back to the rebate rule — the news came Thursday that the Trump administration wasn’t going to go forward with a proposed rule that would ban rebate payments drugmakers make to drug plans. That puts drugmakers in a tricky spot, Emma Court reports.

Drug companies have a ‘target on their back and very few friends to protect them’ after a shift from …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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