Volume VI, Issue 51

Dec. 23, 2019
Dollar General isn't doing enough to bring healthy food to low-income Americans
Darya Minovi reports for CNN Business on December 20, 2019:

75% of Dollar General stores are located in communities of 20,000 or fewer people. What's more, these locations are typically at least 15 miles away from a full-service grocery store, leaving families with limited options for food... Dollar stores are able to sell products at unbeatable prices because of their simple business model. Operating costs are kept low by employing only a handful of people to stock aisles and limiting the amount of cold storage, which is necessary for fresh food. This is a business model that promotes nutritionally poor food and beverages to low-income customers. Dollar General opens stores in communities that grapple with gaps in food access that need to be addressed. But the retailers' approach to growth is rapid saturation, effectively boxing out the competition... <Meanwhile> People with low incomes face a significantly higher burden of diet-related diseases, like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, than those with higher incomes and tend to have less access to quality medical care to prevent or address those health conditions.

Health policy experts spend a lot of time discussing the myriad inefficiencies of our current health system. The increase in discussion around social determinants of health is a significant and important trend. We are what we eat. Dollar General's cynical and exploitive business model harms vulnerable populations and increases health costs for an already over-burdened health system.  
Michael B. Kimberly, Eric Zimmerman, Ankur J. Goel and Matthew A. Waring write in an MWE.com post:

On December 18, 2019, a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued its decision in Texas v. United States, No. 19-10011, a case presenting once again the question whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutional and sustainable. The court held that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but it reversed the district court's conclusion that the mandate cannot be severed from the ACA, and remanded to the district court for further proceedings on that critical issue.

According to the authors:

While the Supreme Court is likely to be the ultimate judicial arbiter of this dispute, stakeholders should understand that it might not be the final word. Even if the Supreme Court ultimately invalidated the entire law (an unlikely outcome given the Fifth Circuit's punt on the issue of severability), it would not mean immediate chaos will ensue. All three branches of government have tools at their disposal to deal with the fallout from a wholesale invalidation of the ACA.
Big Pharma Company Behind Oxycontin Sells Overdose Cure
AP reports via Fox Business on December 16:

As Purdue Pharma buckles under a mountain of litigation and public protest in the United States, its foreign affiliate, Mundipharma, has expanded abroad, using some of the same tactics to sell the addictive opioids that made its owners, the Sackler family, among the richest in the world. Mundipharma is also pushing another strategy globally: From Europe to Australia, it is working to dominate the market for opioid overdose treatment < naloxone>.
"The way that they've pushed their opioids initially and now coming up with the expensive kind of antidote -- it's something that just strikes me as deeply, deeply cynical," said Ross Bell, Executive Director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation and a longtime advocate of greater naloxone availability. "You've got families devastated by this, and a company who sees dollar signs flashing."


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Florida Health Industry Week in Review is published every Monday by

Each Monday morning, we share the top healthcare headlines of the previous week and summarize
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