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What we do — and don’t — know about the Omicron variant

These are Insider's biggest healthcare stories for the week ending December 3. ...

Hello, 

Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I'm healthcare editor Leah Rosenbaum, and this week in healthcare news:

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healthcare worker in Johannesburg, South Africa gives a traveler a covid test as the omicron variant spreads
A healthcare worker collects a PCR test swab in Johannesburg, South Africa.

What we do — and don't — know about the Omicron variant

A lot of news came out this week about the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, a strain of the virus with several mutations that are making scientists very nervous.

Drug companies are already preparing for the worst; Andrew Dunn spoke with experts, including Pfizer's top scientist Mikael Dolsten, about how pharma companies are already responding to this new threat.

Recently, we learned that there have already been several confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the US — and there could already be up to 2,000 cases, according to an expert that spoke with health correspondent Hilary Brueck. 

We don't yet know though how Omicron will fare against our current COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, but scientists are racing to find out

And speaking of COVID treatments: this week, an FDA panel narrowly recommended the first pill to treat COVID-19.

Read more now>>

Omicron has drug companies preparing for the worst. Here are their plans to counterattack the newest COVID-19 variant.


A doctor and patient at a ChenMed clinic
A doctor and patient at one of ChenMed's clinics

Major hospital systems talk about the future of patient care

Mohana Ravindranath spent time talking to the leaders of 8 of the largest healthcare systems across the country. She asked them all about the future of health — and also about what technologies are currently overhyped. 

She learned:

See the whole story>>

8 tech projects taking off at billion-dollar health systems


medical medication medicine pharmacy pharmaceutical drugs pills vitamins cox prescription FDA over the counter OTC

How pharmacy middlemen are driving up profits

Drug-industry middlemen have reorganized the drug supply chain, Shelby Livingston reports.

Several of these companies are joining forces to get better deals from drugmakers — but they are also driving up costs for patients.

It creates a convoluted system full of secrets, money and medicine. 

Dive in>>

Powerful drug-industry middlemen have quietly launched businesses to get better deals from drugmakers. It could drive up costs for patients.


More stories that kept us busy this week: 


-Leah

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