The market for certain cholesterol-lowering drugs may be about to double. The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have come out with new guidelines for Americans taking statins, suggesting more people could benefit from the drugs.
With the market for statins expected to grow to around 70 million Americans, the generic drug market could get a boost.
“There are certainly some generic statins, which are very effective, that are being sold only as generics right now,” says Vivian Ho, a health economist at Rice University’s Baker Institute.
She says the market for generic drugs even attracts some of the same companies that make the patented brands.
“The brand-name drug makers produce those because they realize that there are some customers who are only going to purchase generics,” Ho says. “So they compete in that market as well.”
For the companies that only make generic drugs, size matters.
“It’s going to be the largest generic makers who already have the facilities and the contracts in place to work with pharmacy benefit managers who are going to be benefiting the most from increased use of these generic drugs,” says Ho.
Generic drug-makers could see a bump in sales, but that may not mean a lot of extra profits.
“One of the really amazing features of the generic drug industry is how much competition there is -- how much price competition in particular,” says economics professor Fiona Scott Morton, who follows the pharmaceutical industry at the Yale School of Management.
Your local pharmacy has a lot of influence here, too. There may be 10 or 15 versions of a generic drug, but the pharmacy only needs to stock one. That gives the pharmacy a role in determining which generic drug companies succeed.
“The pharmacy will talk to different wholesalers and manufacturers, depending on the size of the pharmacy, and see what the best deal is that it can get,” says Morton.
Over time, Morton says the market will adjust to the increased number of consumers taking statins. More generic drug-makers will devote factories and machines to making the drugs, increasing competition. So, in the long run, generic drug prices are not expected to rise significantly.
When Typhoon Haiyan roiled a swath of the Philippines, it cut out power and telecommunications. Aid workers and service providers are gradually restoring the system. In the meantime, a patchwork of devices fill in the gaps.
Scotland Yard says it believes Gareth Williams, whose naked and decomposing body was found locked inside a gym bag in 2010, was not murdered.
Craig Paul Cobb, who's trying to create a white-power haven in North Dakota, found out on a talk show that he may not be as white as he thought. As analyses of our genetic pasts become cheaper, more accurate and easier to obtain, surprises like this are likely to be more and more common.
Hunger can make many people "hangry," or irritable. But new research suggests that we may have another, innate response to hunger: a desire to help others in need.
Romy Arietta’s small apartment in Chicago is packed with stuff. There are stuffed animals, collectible figurines, and pots and pans crowding the kitchen. But he doesn't just collect for himself.
Near the door are three big cardboard boxes, bound for family members in Quezon City in the Philippines.
"My sisters, my brothers," says Arietta. "My sister’s the one that gives it to all my brothers and in-laws and nephews and nieces."
The boxes hold groceries, clothes, and other souvenirs from America. Arietta sends them every couple of months. In Filipino, they're called balikbayan boxes, and there’s a whole industry devoted to their door-to-door delivery.
The balikbayan tradition goes back many decades. Alpha Nicolasin remembers receiving boxes as a child in the Philippines.
"In Filipino we say it’s 'amoy America,' meaning to say it smells like America," she says, "because it smells like chocolates, it smells like soap, goodies that come from the States. So it has a certain smell to it."
Today Nicolasin works for a Chicago-area company that ships balikbayan boxes, called Cirera Express. The boxes take 4-6 weeks to arrive by sea, but people put up with the slow delivery because it’s cheap. Nicolasin says by air, the boxes, which typically weigh around 100 lbs, would cost hundreds of dollars to send. By sea, it’s only around $75 per box.
Now many of these balikbayan companies are pitching in on typhoon relief. Nicolasin is soliciting donations that her company will ship for free.
"They can bring it to our warehouse, we’re putting together boxes for shipment," she says. "Non-perishable items, clothes, blankets, toiletries, shampoo, soap..."
Nicolasin says they’ll ship out whatever they get next week. But there’s a new challenge to getting the balikbayan boxes where they’re needed: the major Port of Tacloban was destroyed by the typhoon. Nicolasin hopes by the time her Nov. 20 shipment gets there, alternative routes will have been established to get the supplies where they're needed.
This final note following up to our story from yesterday about Affordable Care Act enrollment. The official figures came out this afternoon from the Department of Health and Human Services. The breakdown goes like this:
Nearly 27,000 people signed up through healthcare.gov.
79,000 or so enrolled through state exchanges.
The precise number is: 106,175 sign-ups through the first month of Obamacare.
Politico's Ben White provided this bit of context:
Capacity at the Big House, Michigan Stadium, in Ann Arbor, Mich., is 109,000.
Believe it or not, there’s no place to get a haircut in the world’s busiest airport.
But that’s about to change.
“What we’re looking at right now doesn’t look like much,” says Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport General Manager Lewis Miller as he stands in the airport’s atrium. “But you see where this little wall is?”
Miller points to a tiny patch of drywall. Just by looking, you’d never know a business is about to go in here.
“There will be a sign that will go up there that will tell people it’s a barber shop. There will be the red and white barber poles,” he continues as he shows off a messy shell of a space.
Wires hang where a suspended ceiling used to be. A non-working soda cooler is covered in dust.
But Miller sees this space as a potential gold mine.
“I think it’s very lucrative—just the number of people [who] are coming through every single day,” Miller says.
For this space, airport officials want something distinctive, a flavor that says Atlanta.
Originally, the airport issued a formal “Request for Proposals.” Not a single barber applied.
Airport managers regrouped, decided to go door-to-door. That got more interest.
“Supply and demand is one of the things we’re looking at. And if there’s a demand for it, we’re ready to supply it,” laughs 40-year-old Herbert Williams, owner of Vintage, The Barber Shop in Downtown Atlanta.
The chairs in his shop are 1948 Koken Presidents. A vending machine dispenses Coca-Cola in glass bottles. And Williams is the first to tell you making it in this business means understanding one thing:
“A barbershop is a different type of business,” he says. “Barbershops are made of people.”
Williams wouldn’t say much about what he’s putting into his barbershop proposal. But it works the same as just about every business at every major U.S. airport.
There’s rent-- significantly more than what he’s paying here. Williams must “bid” to the airport an annual amount—how much, no matter what, he’ll pay for the privilege of operating there. The minimum at Hartsfield-Jackson is $25,000 a year for this project.
And for every cut he does, the airport gets a cut.
“Does it frighten me? No,” says Williams. “Because the airport has been very successful when it comes to businesses being in the airport.”
And he’s right, says Kenneth Buchanan, the Executive Vice President of Revenue Management at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport.
“There’s the potential to make a significant amount of money in an airport environment versus on a street location.”
Buchanan says DFW put in its first barbershop more than twenty years ago.
“The time-pressed, stressed traveler gravitated to those types of amenities,” he says, noting there are now eight hair shops at DFW.
Buchanan says all are doing well, enjoying their share of the airport’s $300-million annual concessions revenue.
With numbers like that, Vintage owner Herbert Williams knows his proposal back in Atlanta has to, in his words, “make sense.”
Williams figures if his does, he’ll make three times the profit he brings in at his downtown location.
“May the best man win,” he laughs.
Proposals are due in next week, with “World’s Busiest Barbershop” set to open in about a year.
In a number of states, executions have been put on hold due to challenges against lethal injections. But states that want to put their worst offenders to death are still finding ways.
The team was appointed by the White House in August following months of revelations about the National Security Agency's programs. President Obama asked the five intelligence experts to make recommendations about balancing security and privacy concerns.