November 27, 2018

Takubo takes over as majority leader

Senate President Mitch Carmichael made news Monday on MetroNews’ Talkline when he announced Kanawha Sen. Tom Takubo will be majority leader for the 2019-2020 session. Takubo replaces Ohio Sen. Ryan Ferns, who was defeated in the November general election.


Takubo is a Kanawha County physician. He has served since 2016 as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources. We’ll be reporting later on Takubo’s legislative career and reaction to his appointment.



Amazon gearing up PillPack. HEALTHCAREDIVE reports, “It remains to be seen how disruptive Amazon will be in the prescriptions space now that it has its own online pharmacy. The company snagged PillPack, which focuses on delivering individualized rolls of presorted medicines to people who manage multiple daily medications.  


“It now looks like Amazon is revving up for expansion of PillPack, … citing a new prescribing license in Washington state and licenses pending in Indiana and New Mexico. The pharmacy also has postings for pharmacy technicians and packaging and shipping jobs at its Phoenix distribution center.”


PBMs pushing back against Novartis gene therapy. KFGO reports, “Just weeks after Novartis floated the idea that $4-5 million was fair value for its new gene therapy against a deadly neuromuscular disease, a major benefits manager is pushing back.”


Doctor sues to end medical cannabis gun ban. WPXI reports, “A Pennsylvania doctor is filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration to end the prohibition on gun ownership for state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients.”



Moore announces interest in treasurer bid. The Gazette-Mail reports, “A lame-duck Republican delegate from Jefferson County … announced his interest in candidacy for state treasurer, the only elected state-level office currently occupied by a Democrat.


“West Virginia House Delegate Riley Moore filed pre-candidacy papers for the 2020 election with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office Tuesday morning and announced his campaign on social media in the afternoon.”


Higher Education

College presidents worried about higher education changes. The Gazette-Mail reports, “Some West Virginia college presidents said recently they’re worried about what proposed changes to the state’s higher education system would mean for their schools — including what would keep one college from duplicating services provided by another.”


…Former Higher Education Policy counsel lawyer Bruce Walker comments. The Dominion Post reports, “His comments advocate for a continued, strong higher education presence that can provide unbiased information, communicate with unity to the Legislature and balance out regional push and pull.”


WV SUPCO Impeachment

Davis dismisses lawsuit. The Gazette-Mail reports, “Former West Virginia Supreme Court justice Robin Davis … voluntarily dismissed her lawsuit against Gov. Jim Justice and state lawmakers…”


Sports Gaming

Mountaineer Casino begins sports betting. MetroNews reports, “[Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort] has started a sports betting operation.”


Health & Human Resources

DHHR prepares package of changes to child-welfare policies. Public News Service reports, “Driven by the drug crisis, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is preparing a package of changes to child-welfare policies.”


California whooping cough cases mounting. NBC reports, “Public health officials are warning Santa Cruz County residents of a recent uptick in whooping cough cases.”


…Measles outbreaks significant in Europe. OPB reports, “Measles is a serious disease in poor countries, which account for most of the 173,000 infections recorded globally in 2017. But global health experts are shocked that there are still significant outbreaks in Europe, where high-quality vaccines are readily available. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has recorded nearly 33,000 measles infections in the EU since 2016. About half were in Romania, according to the National Institute of Public Health in Bucharest.”


Flu activity minimal. The Gazette-Mail reports, “Nearly two months into the 2018-2019 flu season, a state health official said activity for the illness so far has been ‘minimal.’


Hospitals targeted by ransomware attack. WV News reports, “A pair of hospitals, one in Wheeling, became unable to accept patients from emergency service transports following an attempted ransomware attack.“Both the Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling and East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry, Ohio — which are both owned by parent company Ohio Valley Health Services & Education Corporation — were impacted by the attack.”


English soft drink tax raises 1538 million pounds. City A.M. reports, “The sugar tax on soft drinks has raised £153.8m since it came into force in April, the government has said.” …Bans subway junk food ads. NPR reports, “As of February, the city will ban junk food advertising across all of London’s public transportation network … It is part of the city’s larger plan to stem rising childhood obesity rates.”


Kansas City Health Department calls meals for needy an illegal food establishment. The New York Times reports, “… Every week for the past three years, the volunteers have gone to a park just outside downtown Kansas City with home-cooked meals for the homeless. They call it a picnic with friends.“But on a cloudy afternoon earlier this month, an inspector from the Kansas City Health Department showed up and called it something else: an illegal food establishment.”


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