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"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli banned from drug industry for life, ordered to pay nearly $65M

Martin Shkreli, the so-called “Pharma Bro” known for jacking up medicine prices, has been banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered to pay almost $65 million, according to New York’s top prosecutor......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 14th, 2022

"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli banned from drug industry for life, ordered to pay nearly $65M

Martin Shkreli, the so-called “Pharma Bro” known for jacking up medicine prices, has been banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered to pay almost $65 million, according to New York’s top prosecutor......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 14th, 2022

After 28 Days On Ventilator, Family Loses Legal Battle To Try Ivermectin, Other Alternative Treatments, For Dying Father

After 28 Days On Ventilator, Family Loses Legal Battle To Try Ivermectin, Other Alternative Treatments, For Dying Father Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times, A Florida family fighting to give their loved one on a ventilator alternative treatments for COVID-19 have lost another battle—this time in Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. The wife and son of Daniel Pisano first squared off against Mayo Clinic Florida at an emergency hearing on Dec. 30 in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit. Before that, they’d been begging the hospital to allow them to try treating Pisano—who’s been on a ventilator now for 28 days—with the controversial drug ivermectin, along with a mix of other drugs and supplements, part of a protocol recommended by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC). The family’s request for an emergency injunction to force the Mayo Clinic to allow treatments recommended by an outside doctor was denied by Judge Marianne Aho. They appealed the decision. On Jan. 14, Aho’s decision was upheld by Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. The three-judge panel deciding the case included Judge Thomas “Bo” Winokur, appointed by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2015; Judge M. Kemmerly Thomas, appointed in 2016 by Scott; and Judge Robert E. Long, Jr., appointed in 2020, by Gov. Ron DeSantis. “An opinion of this Court explaining its reasoning will follow,” the judges stated in the order they issued.  “So we wait to see what that looks like, unless it takes too long,” said Jeff Childers, an attorney for the family.  Seventy-year-old Daniel Pisano doesn’t have unlimited time, says Eduardo Balbona, M.D., an independent doctor in Jacksonville who’s been advising the family since they reached out to him while researching other treatments that could potentially help their loved one. Daniel and Claudia Pisano moved to Florida and bought a homesite to be 20 minutes from their only two grandchildren. (Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano) Balbona, who has been monitoring Pisano’s treatment at the Mayo Clinic through an online portal, testified on behalf of the Pisano family in the first hearing. The Mayo Clinic has argued that the treatment plan doesn’t fit with the hospital’s standard protocol for treating COVID-19 patients and they don’t know what the effects of following Balbona’s recommendations would be. The hospital has told the family that Pisano has a less-than-five percent chance of survival, and all that’s left to do is wait and see if he recovers on the ventilator. The Mayo Clinic has not responded to requests for comment. The family has begged the Mayo Clinic to simply step aside and let Balbona try what he thinks could work. But the Mayo Clinic doesn’t allow outside doctors to treat patients. Since media reports mentioned his involvement in the case, particularly his confidence in recommending ivermectin, Balbona has faced a mix of hate-filled criticism and desperate cries for help. He says he’s used ivermectin along with the rest of the FLCCC protocol successfully with minor modifications, on “dozens and dozens” of seriously ill patients suffering the effects of COVID-19. Some of those patients have come to him from as far away as California. He’s not alone in his belief in ivermectin and the mix of drugs and supplements he’s suggesting. Different health care professionals across the country have spoken out over the past two years about the efficacy of using ivermectin and the FLCCC protocol to treat COVID-19. The drug has been used for 40 years and won a Nobel Prize for its creator. While ivermectin is most often used to prevent or kill parasites in animals, it has also been widely and successfully used for years to treat parasites and viruses in humans in the United States and other countries. There is an ever-growing list of peer-reviewed studies showing the drug’s efficacy in treating COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicates there are ongoing clinical trials investigating the use of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19 on a webpage warning people not to self-medicate with ivermectin. The FDA published a tweet in August mocking those who do. And some politicians and media outlets have railed relentlessly against those claiming ivermectin could be an effective and inexpensive way to combat COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shared this tweet on Aug. 21, 2021, mocking the use of the drug ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of FDA via Twitter) “You should be embarrassed to practice medicine, to sue the Mayo Clinic to get horse medicine to a human being, because of Internet garbage,” one person seethed on a voicemail at Balbona’s office after his court testimony was mentioned in an Epoch Times article. “Your license should be revoked, you worthless piece of garbage. You are killing people, not helping them, and to harass the Mayo Clinic, because you are not good enough to be their doctor is disgusting. Disgusting. You and doctors like you should all be banned from society. Shame on you. Disgusting. Goodbye and good riddance. I hope you get COVID. Goodbye.” Balbona says he deletes messages like that and pushes on with his treatment of patients. It’s “just the intolerance and hatred that takes me by surprise,” he said, about his office communications now getting “flooded by hate.” Eduardo Balbona, M.D., completed specialty training in internal medicine at the National Naval Medical Center and served as a physician at the U.S. Capitol, caring for senators, congressmen and Supreme Court justices. (Photo courtesy of Eduardo Balbona, M.D.) “Everything I do treating COVID is directed at lowering the inflammatory response, which is out of control, and improving blood flow to the lungs, and avoiding the complications of clots,” he said. “Perhaps the biggest change I’ve made from protocols in the hospital and with FLCCC is increasing the dose of dexamethasone. The dose of dexamethasone in FLCCC is relatively low at 6 mg, and I generally increase that to 18 mg daily in more serious cases. That’s a logic change, and I realize the study support is at 6 mg.” “There’s a reason for every medicine and everything I do treating COVID with my protocol. I have to be able to defend it since I know it will be attacked. Crazy world we’re in.” Christie DeTrude, of Switzerland, Florida, feels certain that Balbona’s recommendations saved her husband, Dewey. He had just retired last spring at 59 after a long career as a pipe-fitter. At 200 pounds and 6-feet-tall, he was in the peak of health, with strong “country muscles after a lifetime of turning a wrench,” she said. Dewey and Christie DeTrude on vacation in Hawaii, before he fell ill with COVID-19. (Courtesy of the DeTrude Family) When he sought treatment for COVID-19 at an urgent-care clinic in July, he was prescribed ivermectin by a doctor there. “But what we didn’t know at the time was, it wasn’t a high enough dose, because it’s supposed to be weight-based,” Christie DeTrude said. “Theirs was a very low dose, and they discontinued it after five days and said that it would be damaging to his liver and kidneys if they continued, which isn’t true.” On his eighth day of illness, he had developed pneumonia, and the urgent-care clinic told him to go to the hospital for treatment with convalescent plasma and oxygen. The referring doctor promised he wouldn’t be admitted, Christie DeTrude said. When she dropped him off at the Mayo Clinic Florida emergency room, she was told to come back and pick him up in 4-5 hours. “Once he got to Mayo, they just completely took over, and there was no informed consent,” DeTrude said. “There was no giving him information and letting us make a decision. They made all of his decisions for him, and they follow a standard protocol.” “There were no choices, there was no discussion…they just kept upping the oxygen,” DeTrude said. The Mayo Clinic did not return requests for comment by The Epoch Times about DeTrude’s case, Pisano’s case, or COVID-19 treatment protocols, in general. DeTrude said that eventually, her husband had become so weak, he couldn’t get out of the hospital bed. She felt that the hospital’s treatments weren’t working. She wanted to take him home. The hospital wouldn’t agree to discharge him and didn’t allow her to visit, she said. Dewey DeTrude’s wife hired an attorney to help her get her husband out of the intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic Florida, so he could be treated at home with ivermectin. DeTrude, shown here on Aug. 3, 2021, spent 46 days in the hospital. (Courtesy of the DeTrude Family) Days passed. Then, weeks. She says that she could tell from their phone calls that her husband was getting weaker. His 60th birthday came and went. And still, she says the hospital wouldn’t let her visit. “I was able to get a Catholic priest to come give him Last Rites, and the priest said that my husband’s mental state was like that of a prisoner of war, that he was definitely suffering trauma from the isolation from family, from his faith, from not seeing the sun. He’d lost 35 pounds,” she said. Part of the problem was that she wasn’t allowed to bring him vegan meals, she said. “A lot of the food, my husband wasn’t interested in. And when you’re on oxygen, it does affect your appetite, and he needed assistance eating, but they wouldn’t let me be that person,” she said. After 18 days, Christie DeTrude hired an attorney to help her push the hospital to stabilize her husband so she could take him home. Meanwhile, she searched for an outside doctor who could help. With that aim, she attended a medical freedom rally in Jacksonville in August, hoping to find something or someone who could advise her. Several doctors spoke about alternative treatments for COVID-19 that hospitals weren’t using, including ivermectin. The next day, she called them all. Only Dr. Balbona came to the phone to speak with her, she said. At Christie DeTrude’s request, Balbona promised the hospital that he’d take over her husband’s care. He ordered oxygen, medication, and home-health assistance for the family, she said. As she waited for Mayo doctors to agree to discharge him, Christie DeTrude prayed every day that her husband could hang on a little longer. After 46 days at Mayo Clinic, Dewey DeTrude finally was discharged and immediately started following Dr. Balbona’s instructions, taking ivermectin, fluvoxamine to prevent blood clots, and propranolol to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder from his hospital stay. He also took Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc. He ate healthy food and spent time in the sunshine. Within days, it was clear her husband was on the mend, Christie DeTrude said. Now, four months later, “he’s working part-time, going to the gym,” she said. “He’s completed physical therapy and working on rebuilding his stamina and lung capacity. And if it weren’t for Dr. Balbona, I’m quite sure he would have died in the hospital.” Gene Bennett, a 77-year-old retired field engineer for IBM, tells a similar story. He was enjoying life in Bryceville, Florida helping his son clear five acres of land for a homesite when COVID-19 struck in January 2021. An ambulance transported him to Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, where he was treated with remdesivir. “They had to keep getting my oxygen higher and higher,” Bennett said. “I was finally up to the point of seven liters per minute, which is almost pure oxygen. And I knew that I wasn’t getting better. I could tell I was getting weaker and weaker. So when the doctor made his rounds on the Monday morning, I said, ‘This is my last day of remdesivir treatment and I know that I’m not improving. What’s our next step?’ “He looked at me and very calmly said, ‘Mr. Bennett, we don’t have a next step.’ He said, ‘We have done all for you that we can do. There’s nothing else we can do for you.’” Gene Bennett insisted on leaving the hospital, instead of going on a ventilator. (Courtesy of Jane Bennett) Overnight, Bennett thought a lot about the conversation. The next day, he asked the doctor, “Are you serious? There’s nothing else that this hospital can do for me?” “He said, ‘No, sir. The next step is for you to go on a ventilator.’” “Well, I’m not going to do that,” Bennett recalls saying. “I want to be released from this hospital.” He quickly learned that was no longer a decision he could make for himself. Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital did not respond to a request for comment. “They weren’t going to release me because I was on a high level of oxygen,” he told The Epoch Times. “So finally, after I raised hell with them, to put it mildly, all day, my son picked me up” that evening. The next morning, Bennett’s wife drove him to Dr. Balbona, his physician for many years. Balbona came out to the parking lot of his office to help him out of the car. “I could barely walk with a walker without assistance — that’s how bad off I was,” Bennett said. He says Balbona told him, ” You have the most severe case of COVID that I have seen. But I have a medicine I have been using and I’ve had great success with it.” Bennett needed no convincing. “What is it? I’ll take it,” Bennett recalls saying. “I know I’m dying. I just feel it.” “He told me and my wife, ‘Most people that have COVID as severe as you do not survive. We’re behind the curve, but we’re going to try to get you over the hump. The medicine I’d like to prescribe for you is normally a heartworm medicine for dogs—that’s the most common use.’ “He said, ‘They use it all over the world. It’s been around for 40 years, and it’s dirt cheap, but very effective.’ “He said, ‘I would never, ever give a patient a medicine that I thought would be harmful to them.’ And I totally believed, and just accepted the fact he was doing what he thinks was right. “I thought, I don’t have any options. I know if I don’t take something to stop this, it’s going to kill me.” They picked up a $30 supply of ivermectin from a drug store that day. Bennett was so weak, he could barely feed himself. His wife and son later told him that they thought he was going to die. But after five days on what Dr. Balbona prescribed, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, steroids, and a diuretic to get fluid off his lungs, he started to improve. “I’m a firm believer and I’d swear on the Bible, had I not been prescribed ivermectin, I would have died. Had I not stepped out of St. Vincent’s and checked myself out and gone to him and got the ivermectin, I wouldn’t be talking to you today. It saved my life. And for how much money? Thirty dollars!” He has since read a lot of research about the efficacy of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. Gene Bennett refused to go on a ventilator when he was seriously ill with COVID-19. After leaving the hospital, his doctor treated him with ivermectin. He made a full recovery.  (Courtesy of Jane Bennett) “I can’t tell you if it is 100 percent effective for everyone, but I can tell you it was for me. I personally cannot understand why the government balks at giving these treatments. Why don’t they make the announcement that it’s available and let it be an individual’s choice?” Ivermectin has been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 in all or part of 22 countries. Over the past year, Bennett’s gotten back to full health, almost, regaining about half of the 45 pounds he lost while he was ill. His wife’s brother died in early January of COVID-19. They begged the hospital to try ivermectin. The hospital declined. His daughter-in-law’s mother died of COVID-19, too, in a Jacksonville Beach hospital, after the family begged to try ivermectin, and the hospital refused, Bennett said. An FDA spokeswoman said she would provide the number of reports of patients who had problems after self-medicating with ivermectin. Three days later, that information had not been provided to The Epoch Times. The FDA Office of Media Affairs said a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would be required to obtain details about when ivermectin might be approved for use in treating COVID-19, and about bonafide injuries to people who’ve used ivermectin to treat the illness. “The most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 include getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you and following current CDC guidance,” the FDA’s website advises. The Epoch Times spoke to a dozen people who have used ivermectin formulated for humans to treat COVID-19 at home. Most obtained prescriptions for the drug through online medical services. None reported having any side effects, even those who admitted to using ivermectin formulated for animals. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the Theranos founder who went from being a Silicon Valley star to being found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy

Elizabeth Holmes was once lauded as "the next Steve Jobs" for founding blood-testing startup Theranos. Now she could face decades in prison for fraud. Elizabeth Holmes leaves after a hearing at a federal court in San Jose, California, on July 17, 2019.Reuters/Stephen Lam Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 to start Theranos and grew its value to $9 billion. Later, technology flaws were exposed, and Theranos and Holmes were charged with "massive fraud." On Monday, Holmes was found guilty on 4 of 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy, which could send her to prison for decades. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In 2014, blood-testing startup Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, were on top of the world.Back then, Theranos was a revolutionary idea thought up by a woman hailed as a genius who styled herself as a female Steve Jobs. Holmes was the world's youngest female self-made billionaire, and Theranos was one of Silicon Valley's unicorn startups, valued at an estimated $9 billion. But then it all came crashing down.The shortcomings and inaccuracies of Theranos's technology were exposed, along with the role Holmes played in covering it all up. Holmes was ousted as CEO and charged with "massive fraud," and the company was forced to close its labs and testing centers, ultimately shuttering operations altogether.As she awaited trial, Holmes reportedly found the time to get engaged — and married — to a hotel heir named Billy Evans.Now, Holmes has been convicted of fraud in federal court. On Monday, jurors found Holmes guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They found her not guilty of four other counts and failed to reach a unanimous verdict on the remaining three counts against her.This is how Holmes went from precocious child, to ambitious Stanford dropout, to an embattled startup founder convicted of fraud: Elizabeth Holmes was born on February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C. Her mom, Noel, was a Congressional committee staffer, and her dad, Christian Holmes, worked for Enron before moving to government agencies like USAID.@eholmes2003/TwitterSource: Elizabeth Holmes/Twitter, CNN, Vanity FairHolmes' family moved when she was young, from Washington, D.C. to Houston.Washington, D.C.Getty ImagesSource: FortuneWhen she was 7, Holmes tried to invent her own time machine, filling up an entire notebook with detailed engineering drawings. At the age of 9, Holmes told relatives she wanted to be a billionaire when she grew up. Her relatives described her as saying it with the "utmost seriousness and determination."Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.REUTERS/Carlo AllegriSource: CBS News, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes had an "intense competitive streak" from a young age. She often played Monopoly with her younger brother and cousin, and she would insist on playing until the end, collecting the houses and hotels until she won. If Holmes was losing, she would often storm off. More than once, she ran directly through a screen on the door.Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, attends a panel discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, September 29, 2015.REUTERS/Brendan McDermidSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupIt was during high school that Holmes developed her work ethic, often staying up late to study. She quickly became a straight-A student, and even started her own business: she sold C++ compilers, a type of software that translates computer code, to Chinese schools.Tyrone Siu/ReutersSource: Fortune, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes started taking Mandarin lessons, and part-way through high school, talked her way into being accepted by Stanford University’s summer program, which culminated in a trip to Beijing.Yepoka Yeebo / Business InsiderSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupInspired by her great-great-grandfather Christian Holmes, a surgeon, Holmes decided she wanted to go into medicine. But she discovered early on that she was terrified of needles. Later, she said this influenced her to start Theranos.Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderSource: San Francisco Business TimesHolmes went to Stanford to study chemical engineering. When she was a freshman, she became a "president's scholar," an honor which came with a $3,000 stipend to go toward a research project.STANFORD, CA - MAY 22: People ride bikes past Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus on May 22, 2014 in Stanford, California. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities by China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Stanford University ranked second behind Harvard University as the top universities in the world. UC Berkeley ranked third. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Justin Sullivan/GettySource: FortuneHolmes spent the summer after her freshman year interning at the Genome Institute in Singapore. She got the job partly because she spoke Mandarin.An office worker walks along the Singapore River front during the lunch hour.Wong Maye-E/APSource: FortuneAs a sophomore, Holmes went to one of her professors, Channing Robertson, and said: "Let's start a company." With his blessing, she founded Real-Time Cures, later changing the company's name to Theranos. Thanks to a typo, early employees’ paychecks actually said "Real-Time Curses."Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes soon filed a patent application for a "medical device for analyte monitoring and drug delivery," a wearable device that would administer medication, monitor patients' blood, and adjust the dosage as needed.Reuters/Brian SnyderSource: Fortune, US Patent OfficeBy the next semester, Holmes had dropped out of Stanford altogether, and was working on Theranos in the basement of a college house.Jeff Chiu/APSource: Wall Street JournalTheranos's business model was based around the idea that it could run blood tests, using proprietary technology that required only a finger pinprick and a small amount of blood. Holmes said the tests would be able to detect medical conditions like cancer and high cholesterol.Theranos Chairman, CEO and Founder Elizabeth Holmes (L) and TechCrunch Writer and Moderator Jonathan Shieber speak onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 in San Francisco, CaliforniaSteve Jennings/Getty ImagesSource: Wall Street JournalHolmes started raising money for Theranos from prominent investors like Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, the father of a childhood friend and the founder of prominent VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Theranos raised more than $700 million, and Draper has continued to defend Holmes.Investor Tim Draper (right).CNBCSource: SEC, CrunchbaseHolmes took investors' money on the condition that she wouldn't have to reveal how Theranos' technology worked. Plus, she would have final say over everything having to do with the company.JP Yim/GettySource: Vanity FairThat obsession with secrecy extended to every aspect of Theranos. For the first decade Holmes spent building her company, Theranos operated in stealth mode. She even took three former Theranos employees to court, claiming they had misused Theranos trade secrets.Kimberly White/GettySource: San Francisco Business TimesHolmes' attitude toward secrecy and running a company was borrowed from a Silicon Valley hero of hers: former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Holmes started dressing in black turtlenecks like Jobs, decorated her office with his favorite furniture, and like Jobs, never took vacations.Steve Jobs.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Vanity FairEven Holmes's uncharacteristically deep voice may have been part of a carefully crafted image intended to help her fit in in the male-dominated business world. In ABC's podcast on Holmes called "The Dropout," former Theranos employees said the CEO sometimes "fell out of character," particularly after drinking, and would speak in a higher voice.Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York.Lucas Jackson/ReutersSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, The CutHolmes was a demanding boss, and wanted her employees to work as hard as she did. She had her assistants track when employees arrived and left each day. To encourage people to work longer hours, she started having dinner catered to the office around 8 p.m. each night.TheranosSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupMore behind-the-scenes footage of what life was like at Theranos was revealed in leaked videos obtained by the team behind the HBO documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley." The more than 100 hours of footage showed Holmes walking around the office, scenes from company parties, speeches from Holmes and Balwani, and Holmes dancing to "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at the company's headquarters.Courtesy HBOSource: Business InsiderShortly after Holmes dropped out of Stanford at age 19, she began dating Theranos president and COO Sunny Balwani, who was 20 years her senior. The two met during Holmes' third year in Stanford’s summer Mandarin program, the summer before she went to college. She was bullied by some of the other students, and Balwani had come to her aid.Footage of Sunny Balwani presenting."60 Minutes"Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupBalwani became Holmes' No. 2 at Theranos despite having little experience. He was said to be a bully, and often tracked his employees' whereabouts. Holmes and Balwani eventually broke up in spring 2016 when Holmes pushed him out of the company.Sunny Balwani pictured in January 2019.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupIn 2008, the Theranos board decided to remove Holmes as CEO in favor of someone more experienced. But over the course of a two-hour meeting, Holmes convinced them to let her stay in charge of her company.Jamie McCarthy / GettySource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAs Theranos started to rake in millions of funding, Holmes became the subject of media attention and acclaim in the tech world. She graced the covers of Fortune and Forbes, gave a TED Talk, and spoke on panels with Bill Clinton and Alibaba's Jack Ma.Elizabeth Holmes with former President Bill Clinton, left, and Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma.Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesSource: Vanity FairTheranos quickly began securing outside partnerships. Capital Blue Cross and Cleveland Clinic signed on to offer Theranos tests to their patients, and Walgreens made a deal to open Theranos testing centers in their stores. Theranos also formed a secret partnership with Safeway worth $350 million.A Theranos testing center inside a Walgreens.Melia Robinson/Business InsiderSource: Wired, Business InsiderIn 2011, Holmes hired her younger brother, Christian, to work at Theranos, although he didn’t have a medical or science background. Christian Holmes spent his early days at Theranos reading about sports online and recruiting his Duke University fraternity brothers to join the company. People dubbed Holmes and his crew the "Frat Pack" and "Therabros."Elizabeth Holmes and her brother, Christian.Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAt one point, Holmes was the world's youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of around $4.5 billion.Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough PrizeSource: ForbesHolmes was obsessed with security at Theranos. She asked anyone who visited the company’s headquarters to sign non-disclosure agreements before being allowed in the building, and had security guards escort visitors everywhere — even to the bathroom.Michael Dalder/Reuters Holmes hired bodyguards to drive her around in a black Audi sedan. Her nickname was "Eagle One." The windows in her office had bulletproof glass.Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAround the same time, questions were being raised about Theranos' technology. Ian Gibbons — chief scientist at Theranos and one of the company's first hires — warned Holmes that the tests weren't ready for the public to take, and that there were inaccuracies in the technology. Outside scientists began voicing their concerns about Theranos, too.Melia Robinson/Tech InsiderSource: Vanity Fair, Business InsiderBy August 2015, the FDA began investigating Theranos, and regulators from the government body that oversees laboratories found "major inaccuracies" in the testing Theranos was doing on patients.Mike Segar/ReutersSource: Vanity FairBy October 2015, Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou published his investigation into Theranos's struggles with its technology. Carreyrou's reporting sparked the beginning of the company's downward spiral.Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou.CBS "60 Minutes"Source: Wall Street JournalCarreyrou found that Theranos' blood-testing machine, named Edison, couldn't give accurate results, so Theranos was running its samples through the same machines used by traditional blood-testing companies.Carlos Osorio/APSource: Wall Street JournalHolmes appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money" shortly after the WSJ published its story to defend herself and Theranos. "This is what happens when you work to change things, and first they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world," Holmes said.CNBC/YouTubeSource: CNBCBy 2016, the FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and SEC were all looking into Theranos.GettySource: Wall Street Journal, WiredIn July 2016, Holmes was banned from the lab-testing industry for two years. By October, Theranos had shut down its lab operations and wellness centers.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn March 2018, Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani were charged with "massive fraud" by the SEC. Holmes agreed to give up financial and voting control of the company, pay a $500,000 fine, and return 18.9 million shares of Theranos stock. She also isn't allowed to be the director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years.Jeff Chiu/APSource: Business InsiderDespite the charges, Holmes was allowed to stay on as CEO of Theranos, since it's a private company. The company had been hanging on by a thread, and Holmes wrote to investors asking for more money to save Theranos. "In light of where we are, this is no easy ask," Holmes wrote.Kimberly White/Getty Images for FortuneSource: Business InsiderIn Theranos' final days, Holmes reportedly got a Siberian husky puppy named Balto that she brought into the office. However, the dog wasn't potty trained, and would go to the bathroom inside the company's office and during meetings.A Siberian husky (not Holmes' dog).Kateryna Orlova/ShutterstockSource: Vanity FairIn June 2018, Theranos announced that Holmes was stepping down as CEO. On the same day, the Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury had charged Holmes, along with Balwani, with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live (WSJDLive) conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California, October 21, 2015.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Business Insider, CNBCTheranos sent an email to shareholders in September 2018 announcing that the company was shutting down. Theranos reportedly said it planned to spend the next few months repaying creditors with its remaining resources.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Wall Street JournalAround the time Theranos' time was coming to an end, Holmes made her first public appearance alongside William "Billy" Evans, a 27-year-old heir to a hospitality property management company in California. The two reportedly first met in 2017, and were seen together in 2018 at Burning Man, the art festival in the Nevada desert.Jim Rankin/Toronto Star via Getty ImagesSource: Daily MailHolmes is said to wear Evans' MIT "signet ring" on a chain around her neck, and the couple reportedly posts photos "professing their love for each other" on a private Instagram account. Evans' parents are reportedly "flabbergasted" at their son's decision to marry Holmes.—Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) February 21, 2019Source: Vanity Fair, New York PostIt's unclear where Holmes and Evans currently reside, but they were previously living in a $5,000-a-month apartment in San Francisco until April 2019. The apartment was located just a few blocks from one of the city's top tourist attractions, the famously crooked block of Lombard Street.Lombard Place Apartments, where Holmes used to live.Rent SF NowSource: Business InsiderIt was later reported that Holmes and Evans got engaged in early 2019, then married in June in a secretive wedding ceremony. Former Theranos employees were reportedly not invited to the wedding, according to Vanity Fair.Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business InsiderSource: Vanity Fair, New York PostHolmes' and Balwani's cases have since been separated.Justin Silva/Getty, Stephen Lam/Reuters, Business InsiderSource: Department of Justice, Business InsiderBesides the criminal case, Holmes was also involved in a number of civil lawsuits, including one in Arizona brought by former Theranos patients over inaccurate blood tests. The lawyers representing her in the Arizona case said in late 2019 they hadn't been paid over a year and asked to be removed from Holmes' legal team.Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves after a hearing at a federal court.Reuters/Stephen LamSource: Business InsiderHolmes' lawyers in the federal case had tried to get the government's entire case thrown out. In February 2020, Holmes caught a break after some of the charges against her were dropped when a judge ruled that some patients didn't suffer financial loss.Brendan McDermid/ReutersSource: Business InsiderAmid the coronavirus outbreak, Holmes' lawyers asked the judge in April 2020 to deem the case "essential" so the defense team could defy lockdown orders and continue to travel and meet face-to-face. The judge said he was "taken aback" by the defense's pleas to violate lockdown.The federal courthouse in San Jose, California.Reuters/Robert GalbraithSource: Business Insider It soon become clear that the pandemic — and the health risks associated with assembling a trial — would make the July trial date unrealistic. Through hearings held on Zoom, the presiding judge initially pushed the trial back to October 2020 and later postponed it further to March 2021.Passengers wear masks as they walk through LAX airport.Reuters/Lucy NicholsonSource: Business Insider In March 2021, Holmes requested another delay to the trial because she was pregnant. She asked to push back the trial to August 31, and her request was granted. Holmes reportedly gave birth to the child in July.Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider, CNBCHeading into the trial, Holmes felt "wronged, like Salem-witch-trial wronged," says a person who used to work with her closely.Holmes, right, leaving the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, California with her defense team on May 4, 2021.Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThe trial kicked off in September. In opening statements, prosecutors argued that, "Out of time and out of money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie." Meanwhile, the defense argued that although Theranos ultimately crumbled, "Failure is not a crime. Trying your hardest and coming up short is not a crime."Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building with her defense team on August 31, 2021 in San Jose, California.Ethan Swope/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider The list of possible witnesses for the trial named roughly 200 people, including the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, James Mattis, and Holmes herself.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Courthouse with her mother, Noel Holmes, during her trial.Brittany Hosea-Small/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn the end, the trial featured testimony from just over 30 witnesses.Vicki Behringer/ReutersSource: Business InsiderOver the course of 11 weeks, prosecutors called 29 witnesses to testify — including former Theranos employees, investors, patients, and doctors — before resting its case in November.Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of Theranos, in a San Jose courtroom in September.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider The defense then began making its case, calling just three witnesses, including Holmes herself.Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderOn the stand, Holmes said Balwani emotionally and sexually abused her during their relationship.Former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny' Balwani leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court on June 28, 2019 in San Jose, California.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes also admitted that she added some pharmaceutical companies' logos to Theranos' reports without authorization. Investors previously said they took some reassurance in those reports because, based on the logos, they thought major pharmaceutical companies had validated Theranos' technology. Holmes said she added the logos to convey that work was done in partnership with those companies, but in hindsight she wishes she had "done it differently."Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes also acknowledged on the stand that she hid Theranos' use of modified commercial devices from investors. She said she did this because company counsel told her that alterations the company made to the machines were trade secrets and needed to be protected as such.Brittany Hosea-Small/ReutersSource: Business InsiderHolmes spent seven days on the stand before the defense rested its case in early December.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives to attend her fraud trial at federal court in San Jose, California, U.S., December 16, 2021.Peter DaSilva/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn closing arguments, prosecutors argued that Holmes "chose fraud over business failure" while the defense argued she was "building a business, not a criminal enterprise."Elizabeth Holmes walks into federal court in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Dec. 17, 2021.Nic Coury/Associated PressSource: Business InsiderAfter 15 weeks of trial, Holmes' case headed to a jury of eight men and four women on December 17.Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of blood testing and life sciences company Theranos, leaves the courthouse with her husband Billy Evans after the first day of her fraud trial in San Jose, California on September 8, 2021.Nick Otto/AFP/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderJurors deliberated for a total of seven days over the next few weeks before telling the court on Monday that they were deadlocked on three of the 11 charges against Holmes. The judge read off some jury instructions to the group in court before instructing them to go back and deliberate further.Kate Munsch/ReutersSource: Business InsiderHours later, the jury returned a mixed verdict for Holmes, finding her guilty on one count of conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of wire fraud. They found her not guilty on four other counts and failed to reach a verdict on the remaining three counts. The counts Holmes was found guilty of were all related to investments; she wasn't convicted on any of the charges involving patients who received inaccurate test results.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes now faces the possibility of decades in prison. Each count carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, a $250,000 fine, and a requirement to pay victims restitution. Holmes was not taken into custody following the verdict; prosecutors say they want a secure bond for her. A date for a sentencing hearing has not yet been set.AP Photo/Nic Coury, FileSource: Business Insider, Yahoo FinanceMaya Kosoff contributed to an earlier version of this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022

5 Beaten-Down Biotech Bets to Bounce Back in 2022

Biotech stocks from the Medical sector, including APTO, CELU, CNSP, CYAD and SPRB, might be witnessing a turnaround in 2022 to emerge as solid investment options. Even though relentless efforts were made to contain the COVID-19 pandemic before 2021 bids adieu, the infection saw a renewed spike due to the latest Omicron variant. The deadly strain, suspected to be more contagious, again reminds investors of widespread lockdowns and economic doldrums.However, the Biden administration is not yet mulling over the shutdown measures or stricter restrictions. This is expected to keep investors’ sentiments upbeat ahead of the new year.Biotech companies are racing against time to evaluate every possible weapon in their arsenal to combat yet another wave due to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. Any positive update in this regard led to a massive surge in the share price of the respective companies and drove the overall industry. The same trend is expected to continue, with booster doses of the vaccines and oral therapeutics becoming the need of the hour.Apart from COVID-related solutions, many biotech companies are focused on developing new treatment options for other life-threatening or rare diseases. Shares of some biotech companies with promising pipeline candidates or drugs have declined through 2021 as investors’ focus primarily remained on those developing coronavirus vaccine or drugs. This created a good opportunity for investors to add some stocks to their portfolios that look promising at an attractive valuation. A few such companies are Aptose Biosciences APTO, Celularity CELU, CNS Pharmaceuticals CNSP, Celyad CYAD and Spruce Biosciences SPRB.With several vaccines and drugs available for fighting the COVID-19, investors will now focus on companies with non-COVID pipelines that show a potential growth trajectory. Moreover, the second half of 2021 saw a considerable ramp-up in the M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity with a few pharma giants acquiring smaller biotechs to bolster their pipelines with prospective candidates. Generally, M&A deals are done at a significant premium on current share price, creating opportunity for investors to record strong gains on investments.5 Beaten-Down Stocks Likely to Make a Comeback in 2022The robust resilience of stock markets has set the stage for a continued upside in 2022. Despite the Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, scientists believe it to be lesser virulent than the Delta variant and is unlikely to derail the global economy. This suggests that drug/biotech companies hurt by supply-chain disruptions may show signs of recovery in 2022 as supply-chain normalizes with lesser curbs. Visits to physician clinics are also likely to normalize next year with fewer checks in place, driving demand for physician-administered drugs.However, finding stocks that are likely to outperform in 2022 can be a daunting task.Here, Zacks’ proprietary methodology comes in handy. Our research shows that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) offer good investment opportunities. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.We picked five stocks with a market capitalization of more than $500 million that have lost above 20% so far in 2021 but have the potential to turn around next year based on their strong fundamentals.Our PicksAptose: It a clinical-stage biotechnology company making advancements in therapeutics to treat life-threatening cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia, high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes and other hematologic malignancies. APTO has three candidates in early-stage studies. Clinical study updates and initiations of new studies, anticipated in 2022, will be key catalysts for the stock.Aptose currently has a Zacks Rank #2. APTO’s loss estimates for 2022 have narrowed 14% in the past 30 days.Celularity: It is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing off-the-shelf placental-derived allogeneic cell therapies targeting different indications, including cancer, infectious and degenerative diseases. CELU has all the pipeline candidates in early-stage studies. CELU is planning to initiate two phase I studies in 2022 to evaluate two different candidates in patients with Crohn’s disease or B-cell malignancies. Clinical updates will drive the stock in 2022.Celularity carries a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. CELU’s loss estimates for 2022 have narrowed 15.6% in the past 30 days.CNS Pharmaceuticals: It is a pre-clinical stage biotechnology company specialized in developing novel treatments for brain tumors. CNSP’s lead candidate berubicin is currently being evaluated in a phase II study that was initiated in the third quarter of 2021. Any promising study update on the candidate will drive share prices higher next year.CNS Pharmaceuticals has a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. CNSP’s loss estimates for 2022 have narrowed 25% in the past 30 days.Celyad: It is a biopharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes cell-based regenerative therapies to treat illnesses wherein cardiac tissue is lost due to chronic or acute injury. CYAD reported promising initial data from the ongoing studies during 2021, evaluating its two pipeline candidates, namely CYAD-02 and CYAD-211. The company initiated a new phase I study in December to evaluate another CAR T candidate, CYAD-101. Updates from these studies will be key drivers for the stock in 2022. Celyad is also planning to start a new early-stage study next year to evaluate a new candidate, CYAD-203.Celyad is currently Zacks #2 Ranked. CYAD’s loss estimates for 2022 have narrowed 14.6% in the past 30 days.Spruce Biosciences: It is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development and commercialization of novel therapies for rare endocrine disorders. SPRB is developing its sole pipeline candidate tildacerfont in two phase II studies as a potential treatment for classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a group of genetic disorders that affects the adrenal glands. Spruce Biosciences is planning to develop the drug for pediatric patients with CAH.Spruce Biosciences carries a Zacks Rank #2 at present. SPRB’s loss estimates for 2022 have narrowed 11% in the past 30 days. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Celyad SA (CYAD): Free Stock Analysis Report Aptose Biosciences, Inc. (APTO): Free Stock Analysis Report CNS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CNSP): Free Stock Analysis Report Spruce Biosciences, Inc. (SPRB): Free Stock Analysis Report Celularity, Inc. (CELU): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 2nd, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

3 Psychedelic Stocks to Play the Shroom Boom

Psychedelic substances are often grouped together with cannabis, but there are some important distinctions. ATAI, CMPS and FTRP are some of the best stocks in the space. Using psychedelic substances is nothing new. In fact, psychedelics have their roots in ancient culture where the super or ‘magical’ mushrooms from which they are derived were worshipped. In the 1950s and ‘60s, there were a number of people experimenting with them for recreational purposes, and for treating alcoholism and other conditions, mainly in informal situations.And although the more formal trials were many (more than 40,000 people took part in them), they weren’t of the same standard that the FDA approval process currently requires. Additionally, their association with the counterculture led to their condemnation and stigmatization. By 1968, LSD was banned in all states and with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, there was also pressure on psilocybin, the safest psychedelic so far, because of limited accepted evidence of its efficacy and its potential for abuse. This meant that institutional funding for research wasn’t available and it was left to individual donors to take it forward.In 2004, the University of California (UCLA) started clinical trials of psilocybin on advanced-stage cancer patients with pain, anxiety and depression. In 2006, Johns Hopkins University, which has been researching psilocybin since the 1970s, issued a publication that led to the establishment of a separate research unit for the purpose. In 2020, the university established the Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research that has published over 27,000 articles on psychedelic drugs, including a thousand on psilocybin, the most-researched psychedelic substance.Pharma companies also tasted some success around then. In 2018-2019, two companies, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Compass Pathways (CMPS), got FDA approval for their therapeutics for treatment-resistant depression. JNJ’s Spravato was a ketamine analog while Compass’s was a psilocybin treatment. The interest in alternatives has increased over the past decade as existing lines of research aren’t yielding the desired results. In fact, 30% of depression patients don’t respond to currently available treatments. Companies have dramatically reduced their research budgets in these areas. So most of the nearly 550 grants received for psilocybin research have been for its efficacy in treating mood and anxiety disorders such as cancer-related psychiatric distress.But the current level of excitement is partly related to the recent funding that Johns Hopkins has received from the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse to research its ability to get long-time smokers off the habit.Johns Hopkins did a clinical study on psilocybin back in 2014 and found remarkable success. The drug was given in 2 to 3 sessions, the first being on the date the subject quit smoking; the second was two weeks after that and the optional third one was after eight weeks. Before administering, the patient was put on a couch with dark glasses and music playing; and was given some idea about the experience. They returned each week for the next 10 weeks to have their breath and urine tested and again after six months and then 12 months. It turned out that after six months, 12 out of the 15 smokers had abstained from cigarettes for at least a week. Moreover, 67% had abstained up to 12 months while 60% had not smoked for at least 16 months. Since it was a small group, further testing was deemed necessary.With the NIH now providing $4 million, Johns Hopkins will lead a multisite study in collaboration with the University of Alabama and New York University to explore potential impacts of psilocybin on tobacco addiction.  So what exactly is a psychedelic? It is a class of hallucinogenic drugs that trigger different states of consciousness by binding to serotonin receptors, which modulate brain circuits involved in sensory perception and cognition. The most common psychedelics in use are mescaline, LSD, psilocybin and DMT.Investing in the PhenomenonPsychedelics are often compared with cannabis since both are used widely for recreational purposes. And since marijuana has generated big gains, there’s a similar expectation of psychedelics as well. However, marijuana is a much more mature market. It’s already legal in many states and some of the companies are also profitable.  On the other hand, psychedelics are still illegal in most places across the world, and certainly in the U.S. And despite all the research, actual products from companies could take a while to come to market, if at all they do.    3 Players Worth ConsideringIt’s possible to spread your risk in psychedelics by going for an ETF. And there are currently a couple available.One is the Defiance Next Gen Altered Experience ETF PSY, which made its debut in May 2021. The first US-listed psychedelic ETF, PSY tracks a market-cap-weighted index of North American companies focused on psychedelics, medical cannabis and ketamine for medicinal and health treatment purposes. The Defiance Next Gen Altered Experience ETF is focused on securities with at least 50% of their revenues coming from legal activities and is reconstituted and rebalanced semi-annually every March and September. It has an expense ratio of 0.75% and does not pay a dividend.The second is a psychedelics pureplay called AdvisorShares Psychedelics ETF: PSIL. PSIL is an actively managed ETF that seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing at least 80% of its net assets in securities of companies that derive at least 50% of their net revenue from or devote 50% of their assets to psychedelic drugs and derivatives that have economic characteristics similar to such securities. It has an expense ratio of 0.68% and does not pay a dividend.Or, you could place your bets on what are, at the moment, the most attractive psychedelic stocks-ATAI Life Sciences N.V. ATAIATAI Life Sciences is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company aiming to transform the treatment of mental health disorders with previously overlooked or underused therapies, including psychedelic substances and digital therapies. It is headquartered in Berlin, Germany.ATAI has engaged in a number of acquisitions and invested in several variable interest entities (VIEs), in which it is the primary beneficiary. Its acquisitions include PsyProtix, Psyber, InnarisBio and Neuronasal.While the 21 cent loss that ATAI reported in the last quarter was better than the estimated 28 cent loss, the estimated loss for 2021 and 2022 have not improved materially in the last 90 days. The 2021 estimated loss is currently 86 cents, down from a loss of $1.05 estimated 90 days ago. For 2022, the estimated loss has gone from $1.15 to $1.11.COMPASS Pathways plc CMPSCOMPASS Pathways plc is primarily involved in researching and developing psilocybin therapy for end-of-life anxiety and the manufacture of psilocybin for research. Given the significant gap in treatment for mental illnesses, it is particularly focused on the development of psilocybin therapy for treatment resistant depression (TRD). It started clinical trials for the purpose in 2017. However, later stage clinical trials are still some way off, only after which will it be able to apply for regulatory approval, to be followed by commercialization and sales. COMPASS Pathways operates principally in New York, USA and is headquartered in London, UK.In the September quarter, COMPASS Pathways did better than expected, with its 38-cent loss coming in much stronger than the estimated 50 cents. The expected loss per share for 2021 is down from $1.87 to $1.72 in the last 90 days while the loss for 2022 is down from $2.29 to $2.24.Field Trip Health FTRPFounded in 2008, Field Trip Health Ltd. is involved in the development and delivery of psychedelic therapies in North America. The company operates Field Trip Centres that provide these therapies. In addition, it also offers Field Trip Digital apps. In the Field Trip Discovery division, the company investigates is developing next generation of psychedelic molecules Field Trip Health Ltd. is based in Toronto, Canada.In the September quarter, Field Trip’s results were slightly short of estimates. The estimated losses for 2022 (ending March) and 2023 are also edging up. For 2022, they’ve gone from 66 cents to 70 cents and for 2023 they’re up from 76 cents to 79 cents.ConclusionThe NIH funding ushers in a new era of legitimacy for psychedelics and to that extent this may be a good time to commit some of your money. But given that research is still ongoing, mainly at universities, that big pharma is yet to make big commitments and that legalization will of course take its own sweet time, it’s going to be a long wait.3-Month Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment Research Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First to New Top 10 Stocks >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report atai Life Sciences N.V. (ATAI): Free Stock Analysis Report COMPASS Pathways PLC Sponsored ADR (CMPS): Free Stock Analysis Report Defiance Next Gen Altered Experience ETF (PSY): ETF Research Reports Field Trip Health Ltd. (FTRP): Free Stock Analysis Report AdvisorShares Psychedelics ETF (PSIL): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 23rd, 2021

US Drug Agents Ramp Up Fentanyl Counterattack On Chinese Mainland (As DEA Faces Its Own Troubles At Home)

US Drug Agents Ramp Up Fentanyl Counterattack On Chinese Mainland (As DEA Faces Its Own Troubles At Home) Authored by Vince Bielski via RealClearInvestigations.com, U.S. drug agents are expanding operations in China – six years after America’s largest trading partner and global rival emerged as the main source of chemicals used to make highly lethal fentanyl. It’s now claiming 65,000 American lives a year. The small crew of about a dozen Drug Enforcement Administration agents, including those in new outposts in Shanghai and Guangzhou, is nearly double the number in 2018. They face what seems like mission impossible: collaborating with Chinese agents to try to bust traffickers hidden somewhere in a sprawling export supply chain that’s linked to 160,000 companies.  “It’s such a massive chemical industry, and then there are layer upon layer of traders, brokers and freight forwarders,” says Russ Holske, the DEA’s director for the Far East, who set up the new offices in China before he retired. “It’s a daunting challenge.” A 2020 Drug Enforcement Administration report maps the flow of fentanyl to the U.S., DEA The DEA’s predicament in China is part of a larger one at the beleaguered agency, whose mission is to break up major drug trafficking rings worldwide. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s mostly made in Mexico with Chinese chemicals, is the deadliest illicit drug ever sold. It’s behind the record number of overdose deaths that keeps growing each year. But the DEA is facing this menace after suffering a series of blows that has left it a smaller and less aggressive and effective outfit, according to several former special agents, high-ranking officials and agency documents. Some of the damage has been self-inflicted. An embarrassing sex scandal involving agents in Colombia and a botched operation that took four civilian lives in Honduras have made Congress wary of the agency. It was left to drift without a Senate-confirmed leader for half a decade, and retreated from some foreign operations, as fentanyl was beginning to leave its lethal mark on the streets. The DEA also has been swept up in the country’s turn against law enforcement as a force for good, leading to morale problems that afflict police departments as well as the Border Patrol. Hundreds of DEA agents left and weren’t replaced, sapping it of its crime-fighting prowess. Some academics, along with the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for decriminalization, are even calling for the group to be eliminated. “Yes, the DEA should be disbanded,” says sociologist Alex Vitale, author of “The End of Policing.” “They have two strategies, interdiction and criminalization, and neither is working.” The agency declined to comment for this story. Restoring DEA’s Urgency Critics such as Vitale blame the agency for the easy availability of narcotics like heroin in every part of the country. But that’s not entirely the DEA’s fault. With a force of 4,700 agents – a third the number of FBI agents – the DEA is up against sophisticated transnational criminal organizations. Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel alone rakes in several billions of dollars in revenue a year, according to estimates. That’s about the size of the entire DEA $3 billion budget. With DEA offices in 69 countries, its ability to crack down on cartels depends on the cooperation of foreign leaders. The agency has apparently found a willing partner in China, which banned a half-dozen fentanyl substances that traffickers were shipping to the states. As clandestine chemists circumvented the restrictions by tweaking the molecules of the substances to create new ones, China got tougher, outlawing the entire class of fentanyl drugs in 2019. This win for the DEA reflected a collaboration with China not enjoyed by other U.S. agencies.  “China, to its credit, helped us quite a bit,” says Holske, the former DEA director. “The controls tightened the pipeline of fentanyl that was coming directly to the U.S. and killing Americans.” But Chinese traffickers quickly found another workaround by selling the chemicals to make fentanyl to cartels in Mexico, which put up roadblocks to DEA agents. In the past year alone, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has delayed visas for agents and restricted intelligence sharing in protest of the DEA arrest of a former defense minister on drug-related charges. U.S. officials recently pressured Mexico to restore some cooperation with DEA agents in pursuit of the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels – the biggest producers of fentanyl powder and counterfeit pharmaceutical pills laced with it. The cartels smuggle the contraband into the states at official ports of entry and along open patches of the border left unguarded as Border Patrol agents are diverted to deal with another crisis – the surge of migrants. Still, the DEA’s interdiction efforts may have saved thousands of lives. In August, a two-month domestic enforcement surge nabbed 850 dealers and added to the total of more than 15 million fake pills seized in the past year. Some 40% of those pills contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin. The agency could be more effective, some former agents say, if it revived its aggressive pursuit of international cartels and replenished its ranks. President Biden did appoint a permanent DEA chief, Anne Milgram, who has a record as a law enforcement reformer who gets results. But the administration’s fentanyl strategy focuses heavily on increasing drug prevention and treatment – a long-term approach that can curb overdose deaths only if the drug supply on the streets is also reduced by law enforcement agents, according to treatment experts.  “I cut my teeth as an agent on the street. We were risk-takers and aggressive in everything we did to put bad guys in jail,” said Jack Riley, who was the DEA’s second-in-command before retiring in 2017. “But we have lost that sense of urgency. We need to get that back to be more effective.” Taking Down Medellin Riley, who helped put Sinaloa’s most notorious leader – Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman – in prison, says the agency has proved its mettle over the years. Consider the dismantling of Colombia’s Medellin and Cali cartels in the 1990s. Medellin’s leader, Pablo Escobar, led a murderous campaign against government officials and became a threat to the country’s democracy. Although new cartels grew out of the ashes of Medellin and Cali – showing that law enforcement alone won’t end drug trafficking – the killing of Escobar was itself a win, says David Gaddis, a former DEA agent in Colombia and high-ranking official. “Escobar tried to take over the Colombian government and he was almost successful,” Gaddis says. “The new cartels do not have the same influence over the government as Medellin did. That’s a success for DEA.” The DEA bagged several other drug kingpins before the agency lost some of its luster. Agency veterans date the DEA’s decline to 2015 after revelations that 10 agents had participated in “sex parties” in Colombia with prostitutes paid for by the cartels. The uproar in Congress led to the departure of DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, a former agent who embodied the agency’s boldness. Leonhart’s 2015 exit was followed by a parade of five acting administrators over five years. Putting a Rein on Agents First up was Chuck Rosenberg, a prosecutor who aimed to rein in what some saw as a cowboy mentality. Edicts from headquarters instructed agents to be more careful in carrying out operations. Leaders feared a questionable shooting could derail the DEA in the wake of the 2014 police killing in Ferguson, Mo., says Jeffrey Higgins, a former special agent for two decades. The biggest pullback was overseas. DEA had built a large special forces operation of about 125 personnel to battle narco-terrorists in Afghanistan. The operation paid off with the conviction of Haji Bagcho, the world’s biggest heroin trafficker. But after the killing of Americans in Benghazi in 2012, the Obama administration reduced the DEA’s presence in Kabul to only a handful of agents, says Riley. Rosenberg then disbanded the DEA’s FAST units, a paramilitary force that assisted local officers in high-risk operations. A 2017 inspector general report found that FAST agents were involved in an operation in Honduras in which four likely bystanders were killed. The end of FAST marked a shift in DEA strategy to focus more on domestic smugglers and street gangs. Some agents opposed it. “It makes no sense,” says Higgins, who worked in about 50 countries. “It’s far more effective to put resources into dismantling a major global exportation organization than to go downstream and take out one of 30 U.S. distribution groups that get the drugs from that criminal organization.” Citing differences over policing with new president Donald Trump, Rosenberg resigned after two years and became an MSNBC commentator. His replacement at DEA found that the “acting administrator” title was worthless and walked after eight months. Next up was Uttam Dhillon, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles then on Trump’s White House staff. He didn’t understand the DEA’s organizational issues and lost the support of agents, Riley says. He was replaced in 2020 by another short-lived acting head. The churn at the top produced disillusionment in the ranks. Many agents retired early or just quit the agency, leaving the DEA down 700 agents  compared to a decade ago. Foreign offices shrunk by a quarter. Predictably, the number of crime organizations that agents disrupted or dismantled worldwide plummeted by one-third – from 2,735 to 1,869 – between 2016 and 2020, according to DEA’s recent report to Congress. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The DEA was losing muscle just as Chinese traffickers were increasing shipments of illicit fentanyl to the U.S. The agency had finally gotten a handle on the oversupply of prescription opioids like OxyContin that were killing an alarming number of Americans. But now fentanyl, a more deadly synthetic opioid, was filling the void. A Conundrum in China The DEA led a full-court press to get China to ban fentanyl, an array of spinoffs and the chemicals to make them. Starting in 2014, acting DEA chiefs, Justice Department officials and chemical experts began holding regular meetings with their Chinese counterparts in Washington and Beijing to press for the restrictions. China has long taken a hard line against drug traffickers, which created some common ground for the rival superpowers to cooperate despite tensions about trade and human rights. The secretive courts in China have handed out death sentences to those convicted of major drug offenses. Recent cases involving Canadian and Australian nationals have sparked protests from Amnesty International and pleas for leniency from foreign officials. But China’s harsh punishments weren’t an issue in the successful bilateral talks over the criminalization of fentanyl, perhaps because no Americans were facing the death penalty.  The fentanyl bans don’t mean much, however, if they’re not enforced. While Chinese authorities have curtailed shipments directly to the U.S., the DEA says, traffickers are supplying Mexican cartels with enough of the precursor chemicals – some of them also outlawed – to flood the states with deadly pills and powder. U.S. border agents seized 10,600 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal 2021, more than twice the prior year. That’s a small fraction of the amount that reaches cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The biggest case in China to date was kicked off by U.S. agents who shared intelligence about the “Diana” criminal group with the Chinese Narcotics Control Bureau. The joint investigation led to the conviction of nine Chinese citizens for fentanyl smuggling in 2019. One defendant received a suspended death sentence and a few were sent to prison for life. Officials from both countries hailed the investigation, which continues today, as a sign of their expanding cooperation. But while China has made several more fentanyl-related arrests, it doesn’t appear to have convicted any major traffickers in the two years since the Diana case. Some former DEA agents question how far China is willing to go in enforcing its bans since the U.S. would be the main beneficiary. While DEA agents in countries such as Indonesia join police in raids and debriefing defendants, in China they are unarmed and play a more limited role. Agents exchange intelligence and discuss cases with local officers but only occasionally work in the field.    At times agents also run into resistance from Chinese authorities, according to an August report by a congressional group that examines U.S.-China economic and security issues. “Chinese regulatory authorities continue to delay requests for access to inspect and investigate potential sites of illegal chemical production where precursors are made,” the report said. “Requests are often delayed for days, allowing any illegal operation to vacate or clean up the premises.” The Chinese Embassy in Washington issued a strongly worded rebuttal in September, showing the tenuous nature of China’s cooperation with the DEA. The embassy called the assessment that Chinese precursors are flowing to Mexico and that authorities obstruct the work of U.S. agents “utterly false.” “It is disappointing that for all the goodwill and sincerity of the Chinese side,” the embassy said, “some American politicians and media are still hyping up such disinformation.” A strong impression on agents: DEA's Milgram speaks movingly at slain agent Michael Garbo's service. DEA/YouTube New Leaders Take Charge Milgram, the new DEA chief, has an advantage that eluded her predecessors in the global war on fentanyl. She won Senate confirmation in June, giving her the authority to reshape the troubled agency at a pivotal time. Milgram has a record of bringing innovative, data-driven approaches to law enforcement agencies that still tend to operate on gut instinct and perform poorly. After New Jersey took control of the Camden police because of the city’s alarmingly high crime rate, Milgram, who was the state’s attorney general, used data analysis to shake up the department. In 2009 murders fell by 38% from the prior year by making cops walk the streets and confiscate guns. At DEA, she is preparing to make changes too. In August the administrator began a top-to-bottom review of foreign operations supervised by a team of outsiders, saying she’s looking for “areas of improvement” as well as “controls to ensure integrity and accountability.” She also tapped the politically savvy Jon DeLena, an associate special agent in charge, to examine how the agency can repair relations with Congress, which is crucial to funding and hiring agents, says Riley, the former deputy. In another move in August, Milgram brought back Lou Milione as her deputy. Riley says the veteran of special operations was known for his “kick ass” leadership against cartel bosses. Milione’s return may signal a revival of a more aggressive approach to the kind of global crime groups that run the fentanyl trade. “He’s a smart guy and he really understands the good results you get from targeting the international cartels,” says Higgins, the former FAST agent who helped take down Haji Bagcho. In October, Milgram for the first time faced the killing of one of her agents. The shooting death of group supervisor Mike Garbo in Arizona rocked the DEA – a reminder of the added dangers when there are fewer agents in the field. The administrator spoke at the memorial service. Her detailed account of Garbo’s talents made a strong impression on agents, whose support she needs in her efforts to revive the DEA, Riley says. “Milgram will make changes,” he says. “But she has a huge challenge with fentanyl. China and Mexico have to do much more to stop it. The DEA can only do so much on its own.” Tyler Durden Wed, 12/15/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 16th, 2021

Takeda (TAK) CMV Infection Drug Livtencity Gets FDA Approval

The FDA grants approval to the new drug application seeking approval for Takeda's (TAK) maribavir for treating post-transplant cytomegalovirus infection. Takeda Pharmaceutical TAK announced that the FDA has granted approval to Livtencity (maribavir) for treating post-transplant cytomegalovirus (“CMV”) infection/disease in pediatric patients aged 12 years or older and adults whose disease is refractory to treatment (with or without genotypic resistance) with conventional antiviral therapies — ganciclovir, valganciclovir, cidofovir, or foscarnet.The approval was based on data from a phase III study — SOLSTICE — that treatment with Livtencity met the study’s primary endpoint of CMV DNA level less than the lower limit of quantification (“LLOQ”) of 137 IU/mL in more than twice the proportion of adult transplant patients compared to conventional antiviral therapies.Takeda evaluated the efficacy and safety of treatment with either maribavir or investigator-assigned conventional antiviral therapy in patients who have undergone solid organ transplant (“SOT”) or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (“HSCT”) for up to 8 weeks in the SOLSTICE study.Please note that CMV infection acquired or reactivated following a transplant can lead to loss of transplanted organ or loss of life. Although CMV infection is a rare disease, Takeda stated that it occurs in 15-56% of patients who have undergone SOT and 30-70% of HSCT patients.Takeda is also developing maribavir as a potential first-line treatment for CMV infection in patients who have received hematopoietic stem cell transplant in a phase III study.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchShares of Takeda have declined 24.9% so far this year compared with the industry’s decrease of 17.8%.Takeda has a diverse oncology pipeline with multiple candidates targeting hematologic malignancies, other blood cancers, and novel immuno-oncology targets. The company’s Ninlaro received approval in Japan in May this year as a first-line treatment for multiple myeloma without prior stem cell transplant.Apart from oncology, the company is also focused on commercializing and developing drugs for treating rare diseases and neurological disorders. The company is also developing treatments for short bowel syndrome and a vaccine for dengue.Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Price Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. price | Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. QuoteZacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderTakeda currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).Some better-ranked stocks from the pharma/biotech sector are Assertio ASRT, IVERIC bio ISEE and Inhibrx INBX, all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Earnings per share estimates for Assertio have narrowed from a loss of 33 cents to 7 cents for 2021 and improved from a loss of 20 cents to earnings of 20 cents for 2022 in the past 30 days. Assertio delivered an earnings surprise of 4.95%, on average, in the last four quarters. Shares of ASRT have gained 36.1% in the past three months.The bottom-line estimates for IVERIC bio have improved from a loss of $1.18 to $1.12 for 2021 and from $1.17 to $1.10 for 2022 in the past 30 days. IVERIC bio’s stock has gained 64.3% in the past three months.Inhibrx’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from $2.31 to $2.07 for 2021 and from $2.27 to $2.21 for 2022. Inhibrx delivered an earnings surprise of 4.95%, on average, in the last four quarters. Shares of INBX have gained 44.8% in the past three months. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Assertio Holdings, Inc. (ASRT): Free Stock Analysis Report Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. (TAK): Free Stock Analysis Report IVERIC bio, Inc. (ISEE): Free Stock Analysis Report Inhibrx, Inc. (INBX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 25th, 2021

Biden Admin Plans "Imminent" Booster Expansion; Orders 10M Courses Of "Pfizermectin"

Biden Admin Plans 'Imminent' Booster Expansion; Orders 10M Courses Of 'Pfizermectin' As governments worldwide continue to ratchet up authoritarian punishments for the unvaccinated and undervaccinated... Austrian police hunt for The Unvaccinated, who have been confined to their homes and face fines of $1660 for being in public (except when working). And the human rights industry, the EU, US and much of the int’l left are silent, if not quietly approving. pic.twitter.com/Wc26Eh09EC — Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) November 16, 2021  ...health officials are once again moving the goalposts when it comes to the definition of 'fully vaxxed.' To that end, the Biden administration is expected to 'begin the process of expanding the booster authorization to all adults' as early as this week, according to Axios. The decision comes amid data which makes clear that vaccine efficacy wanes over time, requiring a booster three-shot course in order to protect against infection and infecting others reduce the < 1% risk of death in most adults under the age of 50, while marginally reducing transmission until it wears off again in 90 days.  More via Axios: Despite disagreement among experts about who needs a booster, there's broad consensus that older people and at least some with underlying health conditions should get an additional dose around six months after their first series. But only 36% of Americans 65 and older have received a booster shot, according to the CDC. "As every month goes by, the immunity wanes more and more. So as time goes by, you’re going to see more vaccinated people" becoming more vulnerable to the virus, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told Axios. The vast majority of breakthrough cases — particularly among younger people — aren't severe. But "as is always the case, the elderly are more vulnerable, because they're more likely to have waning of protection over time," Fauci said. Pfizermectin Meanwhile, the Biden administration has also ordered 10 million courses of Pfizer's new Covid-19 antiviral pill - which immediately triggered the highly conflicted fact checker industrial complex at the mere mention that it's anything like Ivermectin - despite doing the exact same thing (inhibiting protease). On Tuesday, Pfizer announced its plan to ask the US FDA to authorize its emergency use. U.S. officials see this antiviral pill, and another by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, as potential game-changers to help restore a broader sense of normalcy and are eager to add them to a small arsenal of treatments for Americans who contract the coronavirus. With breakthrough cases rising and 30 percent of American adults not fully vaccinated, health officials believe the pills will help tame the pandemic because of their ability to thwart the virus’s most pernicious effects. Pfizer announced earlier this month that its experimental pill, which will be sold under the brand name Paxlovid, reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent in high-risk people when taken within three days of the onset of symptoms. The company said it planned shortly to file an application for emergency use authorization with federal regulators. -Washington Post Being the altruistic types, Pfizer has also allowed generic drug companies to start cranking out their new antiviral in what couldn't possibly be an effort to unseat Ivermectin as the world's go-to early treatment option. If one is interested in an in-depth analysis of the similarities between Pfizer's new "game-changer" and Ivermectin, watch below: We can't wait for more fact checks that benefit big pharma! Tyler Durden Tue, 11/16/2021 - 15:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 16th, 2021

These Are The Ten Biggest Healthcare Companies

Healthcare is a massive industry that not just includes hospitals and medical facilities but also many more crucial sub-segments. One such sub-segment includes pharmacies and diagnostics companies. This sub-segment also includes companies offering related services and products, such as clinical research, developing healthcare devices, assisting with drug discovery and development, analytics, and more. Let’s take […] Healthcare is a massive industry that not just includes hospitals and medical facilities but also many more crucial sub-segments. One such sub-segment includes pharmacies and diagnostics companies. This sub-segment also includes companies offering related services and products, such as clinical research, developing healthcare devices, assisting with drug discovery and development, analytics, and more. Let’s take a look at the 10 biggest healthcare companies specializing in pharmacy, diagnostics, or other related products and services. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ten Biggest Healthcare Companies We have used the most recently available revenue figures to rank the 10 biggest healthcare companies specializing in pharmacy, diagnostics, or other related products and services. We have only considered Fortune 1000 companies for our list. These are the 10 biggest healthcare companies specializing in pharmacy, diagnostics, or other related products and services: Charles River Laboratories International (>$2.621 billion) Founded in 1947, this Wilmington, Massachusetts-based company is an early-stage contract research company that offers products and services to pharma and biotech companies. Charles River Laboratories Intl. Inc (NYSE:CRL) shares have gained more than 50% YTD but are down by over 5% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $360 million in 2020, compared to over $250 million in 2019. Mednax (>$3.513 billion) Founded in 1979, this Sunrise, Florida-based company deals in physician services, such as pediatric cardiology, anesthesia, teleradiology, maternal-fetal medicine and more. Mednex Inc (NYSE:MD) shares have gained more than 13% YTD and over 5% in the last month. The company posted a net loss of over $9 million in 2020, compared to a net income of over $42 million in 2019. PPD (>$4.031 billion) Founded in 1985, this Wilmington, North Carolina-based company is a contract research organization that offers a range of services, including drug discovery, development, lifecycle management and laboratory services. PPD Inc (NASDAQ:PPD) shares have gained more than 35% YTD and almost 1% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $127 million in 2020, compared to over $140 million in 2019. Syneos Health (>$4.675 billion) Founded in 1998, this Morrisville, North Carolina-based company offers outsourced clinical development and commercialization services to biopharmaceutical firms. It has the following business segments: Commercial Solutions and Clinical Solutions. Syneos Health Inc (NASDAQ:SYNH) shares have gained more than 40% YTD and over 10% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $190 million in 2020, compared to over $130 million in 2019. Cerner (>$5.692 billion) Founded in 1979, this North Kansas City, Missouri-based company designs, develops, markets, installs and supports healthcare devices, including hardware and content solutions, for healthcare organizations and users. Cerner Corporation (NASDAQ:CERN) shares have lost more than 5% YTD but have gained over 3% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $780 million in 2020, compared to over $520 million in 2019. Quest Diagnostics (>$7.726 billion) Founded in 1967, this Secaucus, New Jersey-based company deals in diagnostic testing, information and services. It has the following business segments: Diagnostic Information Services (DIS) and All Other segments. Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) shares have gained more than 20% YTD and over 1% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $1.43 billion in 2020, compared to over $830 million in 2019. IQVIA Holdings (>$11.088 billion) Founded in 1982, this Durham, North Carolina-based company offers clinical research, analytics and technology solutions to the life sciences industry. Iqvia Holdings Inc (NYSE:IQV) shares have gained more than 40% YTD and over 1% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $270 million in 2020, compared to over $190 million in 2019. Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (>$11.554 billion) Founded in 1995, this Burlington, North Carolina-based company offers vital information to assist health professionals in making better decisions. It has the following business segments: Drug Development and Diagnostics. Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE:LH) shares have gained more than 40% YTD and over 4% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $1.5 billion in 2020, compared to over $820 million in 2019. Cigna (>$153.566 billion) Founded in 1792, this Bloomfield, Connecticut-based company offers health services through the following business segments: U.S. Medical, Evernorth, International Markets, and Group Disability and Other. Cigna Corp (NYSE:CI) shares have gained more than 3% YTD and over 5% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $8.4 billion in 2020, compared to over $5.1 billion in 2019. CVS Health (>$256.776 billion) Founded in 1963, this Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based company offers healthcare services through the following business segments: Healthcare Benefits, Pharmacy Services, Retail or Long Term Care, and Corporate/Other. CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) shares have gained more than 35% YTD and over 10% in the last month. The company posted a net income of over $7.1 billion in 2020, compared to over $6.6 billion in 2019. Updated on Nov 16, 2021, 10:54 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 16th, 2021

Futures Rise Boosted By JNJ Split As Treasuries, Dollar Slide

Futures Rise Boosted By JNJ Split As Treasuries, Dollar Slide U.S. equity index futures were slightly up at the end of a volatile week, trading in a narrow 20 point range for the second day in a row, while Treasuries resumed declines in response to the recent shock inflation data from the world’s largest economies. Contracts on the three main U.S. gauges were higher, with Johnson & Johnson rising in premarket trading after saying it will split into two companies, while tech stocks again led gains at the end of a week scarred by deepening concerns over prolonged inflation. All the major U.S. indexes were set for a more than 1% weekly drop, their first since the week ended Oct. 1, as hot inflation numbers sapped investor sentiment and halted an earnings-driven streak of record closing highs. At 7:15 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 106 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.5 points, or 0.18%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 40.25points, or 0.25%. The same bullish sentiment that lifted US futures pushed European shares up as luxury shares gained after Cartier owner Richemont posted better-than-forecast earnings, offsetting a drop in travel stocks. Asian shares also climbed, helped by a rally in Japan. At the same time, Treasuries resumed a selloff after a trading holiday Thursday, with this week’s shock US inflation figures still reverberating through the bond market. Five-year notes led losses on concern the price pressure will force the Federal Reserve to raise rates earlier than anticipated. A gauge of the yield curve flattened to the least since March 2020. While global stocks are set for their first weekly drop since early October, their swings have been muted compared with the gyrations in the bond market. Investor focus on a strong earnings season has tempered worries about higher inflation. “Inflation could remain elevated in the coming months, and each inflation release that comes in above expectations has the potential to cause volatility in rate and equity markets, but we still don’t expect inflation to derail the equity rally,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote in a note. In US premarket trading, Johnson & Johnson jumped 4.7% in premarket trading after the drugmaker said it is planning to break up into two companies focused on its consumer health division and the large pharmaceuticals unit. Shares of the GAMMA giga techs (fka as FAAMG) also inched up. Tesla’s boss Elon Musk sold even more shares of the electric car maker, regulatory filings showed, after offloading about $5 billion worth of stock following a poll he posted on Twitter. The sale news naturally pushed TSLA stock price higher.  A gauge of U.S.-listed Chinese stocks jumped more than 5%, helped by Alibaba’s blowout Singles’ Day shopping festival and a report that Didi is getting ready to relaunch its apps. Rivian shares gain as much as 5% in U.S. premarket trading, extending the surge for the EV maker seen since its IPO this week which has sent its market value over $100b. Rivian trading at $122.99 in at 5am in New York, compared to IPO price of $78 Rising price pressures across the globe have been a top concern for market participants, with focus now shifting towards how consumer spending would fare as the holiday shopping season approaches. “The risk-on trading stance remains,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades in London. “However, markets are likely to remain volatile as investors will need to have more clues on where both the economy and monetary policies are going.” In Europe, gains for consumer and retail stocks balanced out declines for mining and energy companies. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fluctuated as Bank of America strategists predicted a fall of at least 10% for the continent’s equities by early next year. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Richemont shares jump as much as 9.8% to a record high, with analysts seeing scope for earnings estimates to be upgraded after the company reported first-half results that Citigroup described as “stellar.” Peer Swatch also bounced. Renault shares gain as much as 4.6% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the French automaker to overweight, saying it should have a stronger 2022 if it can raise production levels from a currently low base. Deutsche Telekom rises as much as 3% with analysts highlighting a good revenue performance and upgraded earnings and cash flow guidance as key positives from its earnings. Intertrust shares surge as much as 40% after the trust and corporate-services firm entered talks to be acquired by private-equity firm CVC. AstraZeneca falls as much as 5.9% after the drugmaker’s 3Q results missed estimates, with analysts noting a big miss for cancer drug Tagrisso. Wise shares sink as much as 8.8% after the money-transfer company won’t be added to an MSCI index in the latest rejig as some investors had expected. JDE Peet’s, Atos and Investor AB also all moved after the MSCI review. Fortum shares decline as much as 3.6% after the Finnish utility’s 3Q sales missed estimates. Uniper, in which Fortum owns a 75% stake, also slid after Fortum said it stopped share purchases in the German group in July owing to high prices. Avon Protection plummet as much as 44% after it warned of testing failures for some body-armor plates ordered by the U.S. military. SimCorp shares drop as much as 7.1% after the financial software and services company’s 3Q earnings, with Handelsbanken calling the quarter “weak,” and saying it raises doubts for the 2022 outlook Earlier in the session, Asia’s regional benchmark advanced, on track for a second day of gains, after sales in the Singles’ Day shopping festival boosted optimism. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.9%, with materials and communication stocks driving the benchmark. Tencent climbed 1.6%, after it bought a Japanese game studio and sold HengTen Networks shares. JD.com gained 5.2% after it received record Singles’ Day orders. Adding to sentiment were the mandate for China’s President Xi Jinping to potentially rule for life, which may mean policy continuity and fewer regulatory surprises and Goldman Sachs’ upgrade of offshore China stocks. A report that Didi Global is getting ready to relaunch apps in China further fueled optimism. “Investors are hoping that greenshoots of a loosening of reforms are upon us,” said Justin Tang head of Asian research at United First Partners. It’s clear “tech shares got a little boost from Singles’ Day and the anointing of Xi as forever leader.” JD.com Shines in Muted Singles Day After Sales Beat: Street Wrap South Korea and Japan benchmarks posted the top gains in the region. Australia’s shares also advanced, boosted by mining stocks. Japanese equities also rose, following gains in U.S. peers, erasing virtually all of their losses from earlier in the week. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which gained 1.3%. All 33 industry groups were in the green except energy products. Tokyo Electron and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.1% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen has weakened more than 1% against the dollar since Tuesday. “It’s a favorable environment for risk-taking thanks to China,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management in Tokyo, referring to Evergrande’s latest interest payment. Rising U.S. yields and a weaker yen “may serve as a trigger for foreign investors to re-evaluate Japanese equities and shift their focus to stocks here.” Indian stocks also rose, snapping three sessions of declines, boosted by gains in software exporter Infosys. The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1.3% to 60,686.69 to a two-week high and completed a second successive week of gains with a 1% advance. The NSE Nifty 50 Index increased 1.3% on Friday. All 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rose, led by a measure of technology companies. In earnings, of the 45 Nifty 50 companies that have announced results so far, 29 have either met or exceeded consensus analyst expectations, 15 have missed estimates, while one couldn’t be compared. Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Coal India are among those scheduled to announce results today.  Expectations of the U.S. Fed raising interest rates earlier than expected after a surge in inflation weighed on most emerging markets this week. In India, consumer prices probably quickened for the first time in five months in October, according to economists in a Bloomberg survey. The data will be released on Friday after market hours.   In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed, even as the dollar added to gains versus most its Group-of-10 peers, and Treasury yields rose across the curve on concern that rising U.S. inflation would warrant earlier rate hikes. The euro hovered around a more than a one-year low of $1.1450. The pound extended an Asia session advance and was the best performer among G-10 peers; the currency still heads for a third week of losses, having touched its lowest level since Christmas and options suggest the move may have legs to follow. Australian and New Zealand dollars are headed for back-to-back weekly declines as rising Treasury yields stoke further demand for the greenback; A 60% drop in the price of iron ore signals a blow to the Australian government’s efforts to stabilize the fiscal position following massive spending to support the economy through the coronavirus pandemic.Meanwhile, the ruble extended its losses, tracking a decline in Brent crude, as tensions flared up between Russia and Western nations over energy supplies and migrants. The currency tumbled as much as 1.1% to 72.4375 per dollar after the U.S. sounded out its EU allies that Russia may invade Ukraine. That made the ruble the worst performing currency in emerging markets.  In rates, Treasuries were off session lows, but cheaper by 2bp-3bp across belly of the curve which underperforms as reopened cash market catches up with Thursday’s slide in futures. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.566%, cheaper by 2bp on the day, while 5-year topped at 1.262% in early Asia session; curve is flatter amid belly-led losses, with 5s30s spread tighter by ~1bp on the day after touching 63.7bp, lowest since March 2020. On the 2s5s30s fly, belly cheapened 3.5bp on the day, re-testing 2018 levels that were highest since 2008. Bunds advanced, led by the front end, while Italian bonds slid across the curve, pushing the 10-year yield above 1% for the first time since Nov. 4, as money markets held on to aggressive ECB rate-hike bets. The Asia session was relatively calm, while during the European morning, Italian bonds lagged as futures continue to price in aggressive ECB policy. Treasury options activity in U.S. session has included downside protection on 5-year sector, where yields reached YTD high.     In commodities, crude futures dip to lowest levels for the week: WTI drops 1.4% before finding support near $80, Brent dips 1% back onto a $81-handle. Spot gold drifts lower near $1,852/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME aluminum, nickel and tin post modest gains, copper and zinc lag. Looking at the day ahead, data releases from the US include the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for November, as well as the JOLTS job openings for September. In the Euro Area, there’ll also be industrial production for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from New York Fed President Williams, ECB Chief Economist Lane, and the BoE’s Haskel. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,646.50 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 485.18 MXAP up 0.8% to 199.85 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 653.35 Nikkei up 1.1% to 29,609.97 Topix up 1.3% to 2,040.60 Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 25,327.97 Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,539.10 Sensex up 1.3% to 60,697.82 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.8% to 7,443.05 Kospi up 1.5% to 2,968.80 Brent Futures down 1.3% to $81.83/bbl Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,853.43 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.20 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.23% Euro little changed at $1.1441 Top Overnight News From Bloomberg Inflation is soaring across the euro area, but it’s also diverging by the most in years in a further complication for the European Central Bank’s ongoing pandemic stimulus The White House is debating whether to act immediately to try to lower U.S. energy prices or hold off on dramatic measures in the hope markets settle, as President Joe Biden’s concern about inflation runs up against climate, trade and foreign policy considerations Reports U.S. is concerned that Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine are “empty and unfounded efforts to exacerbate tensions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says on conference call Financial problems faced by institutions like China Evergrande Group are “controllable” and spillovers from the nation’s markets to the rest of the world are limited, a former central bank adviser said Hapag-Lloyd AG warned that a crunch in global container shipments could persist into next year, with labor negotiations, environmental pressures and disruptive weather combining to hamper goods flows Japan’s government plans to compile an economic stimulus package of more than 40 trillion yen ($350 billion) in fiscal spending, according to the Nikkei newspaper President Xi Jinping appeared more certain than ever to rule China well into the current decade, as senior Communist Party officials declared that the country had reached a new “historical starting point” under his leadership Italian President Sergio Mattarella tried to quash speculation that he could stay on for a second term, leaving Prime Minister Mario Draghi as the top contender for the role early next year A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly higher heading into the weekend as the region attempted to build on the somewhat mixed performance stateside, where price action was contained amid Veterans Day and with US equity futures also slightly picking up from the quasi-holiday conditions. ASX 200 (+0.8%) was lifted in which mining stocks and the tech industry spearheaded the broad gains across sectors aside from healthcare as Ramsay Health Care remained pressured after it recently announced a near-40% decline in Q1 net profit. Nikkei 225 (+1.1%) was underpinned with Japanese exporters benefitting from recent favourable currency flows and with the biggest stock movers influenced by a deluge of earnings. Hang Seng (+0.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) were indecisive with Hong Kong tech stocks encouraged after e-commerce retailers Alibaba and JD.com posted record Singles Day sales, despite a deceleration in revenue growth from the shopping festival to its slowest annual pace since its conception in 2009 amid a toned-down event due to Beijing’s tech crackdown and emphasis on common prosperity. Conversely, mainland bourses were indecisive following a neutral liquidity operation by the PBoC and after US President Biden recently signed the Secure Equipment Act which prevents companies deemed as security threats from receiving new equipment licences from US regulators, which comes ahead of Monday’s potential Biden-Xi virtual meeting. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower due to a lack of momentum from US treasuries as cash bond markets were closed for the federal holiday, with demand for JGBs also hampered by the gains in stocks and lack of BoJ purchases in the government debt market. Top European News Macron and Draghi Have Plans to Fill the Void Left by Merkel Johnson Burns Through Political Capital Built Up With Tory MPs JPMorgan Hires Zahn as Head of DACH Equity Capital Markets Hapag-Lloyd CEO Says Global Shipping Crunch Could Extend in 2022 European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.1%) have seen a relatively directionless start to the session with the Stoxx 600 set to close the week out with modest gains of around 0.4%. Macro updates have been particularly sparse thus far with today’s data docket also relatively light (highlights include US JOLTS and Uni. of Michigan sentiment). The handover from the APAC region was a predominantly positive one as Japanese equities benefited from favourable currency dynamics and Chinese markets focused on the fallout from Singles Day which saw record sales for Alibaba and JD.com. Stateside, futures are also relatively directionless (ES -0.1%) ahead of aforementioned US data points and Fedspeak from NY Fed President Williams (voter), who will be speaking on heterogeneity in macroeconomics. The latest BofA Flow Show revealed USD 7.3bln of inflows for US equities, whilst tech stocks saw outflows of USD 1.6bln; the largest outflow since June. In Europe, equities saw their largest outflows in seven weeks with USD 1.7bln of selling. In a separate note, BofA projects 10+% of downside by early next year for European stocks amid weakening growth momentum and rising bond yields. Sectors in Europe are mixed with outperformance seen in Personal & Household Goods with Richemont (+8.6%) shares boosted following better-than-expected Q3 results. LVMH (+1.4%) also gained at the open following reports that the Co. could consider opening duty-free stores in China. Telecom names are firmer with Deutsche Telekom (+2.6%) one of the best performers in the DAX after posting solid results and raising guidance. To the downside, commodity-exposed names are lagging peers with Basic Resources and Oil & Gas names hampered by price action in their underlying markets. FTSE-100 heavyweight AstraZeneca (-4.4%) sits at the foot of the index after Q3 profits fell short of expectations. Finally, Renault (+4.3%) is the best performer in the CAC after being upgraded to overweight from equalweight at Morgan Stanley with MS expecting the Co. to have a better year next year. Top Asian News JPMorgan Japan Stocks Downgrade Shows Doubts Before Stimulus Japan Stimulus Package to Top 40 Trillion Yen, Nikkei Reports Hon Hai Warns Chip Shortage Will Outweigh IPhone Boost to Sales AirAsia X Gets Over 95% Support From Creditors for Revamp In FX, it would be far too premature to suggest that the Buck’s winning streak is over, but having rallied so far in relatively short order some consolidation is hardly surprising, especially on a Friday in between a semi US market holiday and the weekend. Hence, the index is hovering just above 95.000 within a 95.078-266 range after a minor extension from yesterday’s peak to set a new 2021 best, and the Dollar is on a more mixed footing vs basket components plus other G10 and EM counterparts, awaiting the return of those not in on Veteran’s Day, JOLTS, preliminary Michigan sentiment and Fed’s Williams for some fresh or additional impetus and direction. GBP/CAD - The Pound and Loonie are flanking the major ranks even though the latest retreat in Brent and WTI is pretty uniform from a change on the day in Usd terms perspective, so it seems like Sterling is getting a boost from a downturn in the Eur/Gbp cross ahead of the UK-EU showdown on Brexit and Article 16, while Usd/Cad remains bullish on technical impulses before the BoC’s Q3 Senior Loan Officer Survey. Cable has bounced from just over 1.3350 to retest 1.3400 with Eur/Gbp probing 0.8550 to the downside, but Usd/Cad is probing 1.2600 irrespective of the Greenback stalling. AUD/JPY - Both fractionally firmer as the Buck takes another breather, though the Aussie is also deriving some traction from favourable Aud/Nzd tailwinds again. Aud/Usd has pared losses sub-0.7300 as the cross hovers around 1.0400, while Usd/Jpy has retreated from around 114.30 towards 1.9 bn option expiries at the 114.00 strike amidst reports that the Japanese Government's economic stimulus package will increase to Yen 40+ tn in fiscal spending, according to the Nikkei citing sources. EUR/NZD/CHF - The Euro is still hanging in following its close below a key technical level for a second consecutive session and fall further from the psychological 1.1500 mark, especially as better than forecast Eurozone ip has not prompted any upside, However, option expiry interest at 1.1450 (1.2 bn) may keep Eur/Usd afloat if only until the NY cut. Similarly, the Kiwi has not gleaned anything via a decent pick-up in NZ’s manufacturing PMI as Nzd/Usd clings to 0.7000+ status and the Franc remains under 0.9200 regardless of an acceleration in Swiss import and producer prices. SCANDI/EM - More transitory inflation remarks from Riksbank Governor Ingves are not helping the Sek fend off another dip through 10.0000 vs the Eur. but the Nok is getting protection from weaker oil prices via unusually large option expiries spanning the same big figure given 1.2 bn at 9.7500, 1.7 bn on the round number and 1 bn at 10.2000. Conversely, the Rub is underperforming as tensions rise around the Russian/Ukraine border and the Kremlin aims blame at the feet of the US alongside NATO, while the Try only just survived the latest assault on 10.00000 against the Usd in wake of below forecast Turkish ip and CBRT survey-based CPI projections for year end rising again. Elsewhere, the Mxn is softer following confirmation of a 25 bp Banxico hike on the basis that the verdict was not unanimous and some were looking for +50 bp, but the Zar retains an underlying bid after Thursday’s supportive SA MTBS and with Eskom reporting no load shedding at present, while the Cnh and Cny are holding gains in advance of the virtual Chinese/US Presidential meeting scheduled for Monday. In commodities, WTI and Brent are pressured in the European morning, experiencing more pronounced downside after a gradual decline occurred in APAC hours. However, the magnitude of today’s performance is comparably minimal when placed against that seen earlier in the week and particularly on Wednesday; in-spite of the earlier pronounced movements, benchmarks are currently set to end the week with losses of less than USD 1.00/bbl – albeit the range is in excess of USD 5.00/bbl. Newsflow this morning has been minimal and thus yesterday’s themes remain in-focus where a firmer USD likely continues to factor but more specifically COVID-19 concerns, with Germany’s Spahn on the wires, and geopolitics via Russia drawing attention. On the latter, tensions are becoming increasingly inflamed as the US said they are concerned that Russia could attack Ukraine and in response Russia said they are not a threat to anyone, but, says US military activity is aggressive and a threat. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are softer on the session, but remain notably firmer on the week given the CPI-induced move. On this, UBS highlights the risk of additional inflation strength next year which could stoke further gold demand. Elsewhere, base metals are, broadly speaking, marginally softer given tentative APAC performance and the aforementioned COVID concerns, particularly those pertinent for China. In terms of associated bank commentary, SocGen looks for copper to average USD 9.2k/T and USD 8.0k/T in 2021 and 2022 respectively. US Event Calendar 10am: Sept. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 10.3m, prior 10.4m 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.9%, prior 4.8%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 72.5, prior 71.7; Current Conditions, est. 77.2, prior 77.7; Expectations, est. 68.8, prior 67.9 DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap there wasn’t much to speak of in markets yesterday as US bond markets were closed for Veterans Day and investors elsewhere continued to digest the bumper CPI print from the previous session. We did see a bit of residual concern at the prospect of a faster tightening in monetary policy, and implied rates on Eurodollar futures continued to climb, gaining between +4bps and +8bps on contracts maturing through 2023. However, on the whole equities were relatively unfazed on both sides of the Atlantic, and the S&P 500 (+0.06%) stabilised after 2 successive declines thanks to a bounceback among the more cyclical sectors. Looking at those moves in more depth, interest-sensitive tech stocks were a big outperformer yesterday as both the NASDSAQ (+0.52%) and the FANG+ index (+0.98%) of megacap tech stocks moved higher. Material stocks in the S&P (+0.85%) were another sectoral winner, and the VIX index of volatility (-1.07pts) ticked down from its 4-week high on Wednesday. In Europe, the advance was even more prominent, where the STOXX 600 (+0.32%), the DAX (+0.10%) and the CAC 40 (+0.20%) all reached fresh records. Indeed, for the STOXX 600, that now marks the 13th advance in the last 15 sessions, with the index having risen by over +6% in the space of a month. As mentioned, it was a quieter day for sovereign bond markets with the US not trading, but the sell-off continued in Europe as yields on 10yr bunds (+1.7bps), OATs (+1.4bps) and BTPs (+2.7bps) all moved higher. We didn’t get any fresh news on the Fed officials either given the US holiday, but a Washington Post article yesterday said that officials from the White House had stayed in touch with Governor Brainard since her meeting with President Biden last week, albeit still emphasising that no final decision had yet been made. Separately, Bloomberg reported that senior Biden advisors did not view the recent trading scandal at the Federal Reserve as disqualifying Chair Powell. US Treasury markets have reopened overnight, with 10yr yields following their European counterparts higher, moving up +1.4bps to 1.563%. That’s been driven by a +2.4bps rise in the real yield, though 10yr real yields still remain close to their all-time lows since TIPS started trading back in 1997. Otherwise in Asia, markets are mostly trading higher with the KOSPI (+1.48%), Nikkei (+1.07%) and Hang Seng (+0.22%) all advancing, though the Shanghai Composite (-0.01%) is basically unchanged whilst the CSI (-0.31%) is trading lower. Data showed further signs of inflationary pressures in the region, with South Korea’s import price index up +35.8% in October on a year-on-year basis, the highest since 2008. Elsewhere in India, Prime Minister Modi is expected to announce an opening up of the sovereign bond market to retail investors today, which comes amidst rising inflation concerns as well. Looking ahead, futures are indicating a positive start in the US and Europe with those on the S&P 500 (+0.16%) and the DAX (+0.15%) pointing higher. Turning to the geopolitical scene, it was reported by Bloomberg that US officials had briefed their counterparts in the EU about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. It follows a build-up in Russian forces near the Ukrainian border that have been reported more widely, and echoes a similar situation back in the spring. The Russian ruble weakened -0.57% against the US dollar yesterday in response, with the declines occurring after the report came out. This comes amidst a number of broader tensions in the region, and natural gas prices in Europe were up +6.66% yesterday after Belarus’ President Lukashenko threatened to cut the transit of gas if the EU placed additional sanctions on his regime. Meanwhile on Brexit, there were potential signs of compromise in the dispute over Northern Ireland, with the Telegraph reporting that the EU was prepared to improve its offer when it came to reducing customs checks. However, the report also said that this would be contingent on the UK ending its demands to remove the European Court of Justice’s role in overseeing the agreement. There has been growing speculation in recent days that the UK could be about to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures if the deal was causing serious issues. This would risk EU retaliation that could in theory even led to a suspension of the entire trade deal agreed last year, which is an option that has been talked up in recent weeks. For those wanting further reading on the issue, DB’s FX strategist Shreyas Gopal put out a note on Tuesday (link here) looking at the issues surrounding Article 16 and its implications for sterling. Another important thing to keep an eye on over the coming weeks will be any further signs of deterioration in the Covid-19 situation. Cases have been ticking up at the global level for around 4 weeks now, and a number of European countries (including Germany) have seen a major surge over the last few days. In the Netherlands, they actually set a record for the entire pandemic yesterday, and Prime Minister Rutte is due to hold a press conference today where it’s been speculated he’ll announce fresh restrictions. Separately in Austria, Chancellor Schallenberg said that a lockdown for the unvaccinated was “probably unavoidable”, and said that “I don’t see why two-thirds should lose their freedom because one-third is dithering”. On the data front, the only major release was the UK’s Q3 GDP reading yesterday, which surprised on the downside with growth of +1.3% (vs. +1.5% expected), even though Covid-19 restrictions were much easier in Q3 relative to Q2. To be fair, the monthly reading for September did surprise on the upside, with growth of +0.6% (vs. +0.4% expected), but it came as July and August saw downward revisions. On a monthly basis, the September reading meant the UK economy was just -0.6% beneath its pre-pandemic size in February 2020. To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for November, as well as the JOLTS job openings for September. In the Euro Area, there’ll also be industrial production for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from New York Fed President Williams, ECB Chief Economist Lane, and the BoE’s Haskel. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/12/2021 - 07:48.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 12th, 2021

United Airlines May Can Unvaccinated Workers, Even With Exemptions

United May Can Unvaccinated Workers, Even With Exemptions – Court; That, Plus Recent Supreme Court Actions, OKs Most Effective Vax Weapon [soros] Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more United Airlines Can Put Unvaccinated Employees On Unpaid Leave A federal judge in Texas has held that United Airlines can put employees who have refused […] United May Can Unvaccinated Workers, Even With Exemptions – Court; That, Plus Recent Supreme Court Actions, OKs Most Effective Vax Weapon [soros] Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more United Airlines Can Put Unvaccinated Employees On Unpaid Leave A federal judge in Texas has held that United Airlines can put employees who have refused to be vaccinated on unpaid leave, even if they have medical or religious exemptions. This, plus three recent strikes from the Supreme Court, mean that companies seem to have a green light to use the same technique which also proved so effective in fighting the earlier health crisis caused by smoking, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who says they should do so regarding of whether court action stays the federal OSHA mandatory vaccine policy for larger companies. The most recent Supreme Court ruling, refusing to block a requirement by Maine that its health care workers be vaccinated against Covid, was especially significant because the Maine rule did not permit exceptions for religious objections, and because it was rendered by the entire court. A similar request to stay a requirement by Indiana University that its students be vaccinated was turned down for the Court by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. But that university’s requirement permitted exceptions for religious, ethical and medical reasons; and they were virtually guaranteed to anyone who sought an exemption. Another legal strike against anti-vaxxers’ legal arguments occurred when the High Court refused to stop a vaccination requirement for virtually all personnel in New York City’s school system. A Green Light For Companies To Use The Same Tactics These three rulings – as well as earlier ones by lower courts and the new one in Texas – provide a green light for companies to use the same tactics which proved so effective in fighting a similar public health crisis, likewise fueled by a massive disinformation campaign, says Banzhaf, who established and then led the nonsmokers’ rights movement which got millions to quit and saved hundreds of billions of dollars. Using a stick is much more effective than a carrot in preventing unnecessary deaths and disabilities from smoking and also now also from Covid, says Banzhaf, who led the successful battle to save millions of smoker lives, and who has already begun contributing to saving lives threatened by Covid. Actually, says Banzhaf, “stick” is a misnomer since the measures proven to be so effective in getting smokers to quit, and now getting holdouts to be vaccinated, aren’t designed to punish their unhealthy conduct, but rather to prevent them from continuing to inflict the damage it causes on the majority in the form of risks to life and health, as well as in huge additional financial costs. It has long been known that warnings and other health messages – even when coupled with incentives such as medical assistance and financial rewards – were not very effective in getting smokers to quit; in part because they had to try to overcome a massive disinformation campaign by the tobacco industry. Bans On Smoking What was effective instead were restrictions and requirements – e.g., bans on smoking on airplanes, at public places, and in workplaces – says Banzhaf, who led the fight for smoking bans during flights and then elsewhere. The purpose was not to punish smokers (a stick) but rather to protect nonsmokers; but, by making it very inconvenient not to quit, many smokers yielded to that incentive, he says. He adds that when companies went further and started insisting on having a smoker-free work force, similar to a drug-free work force, compliance – despite some initial grumbling and treats of quitting – went even higher. In addition, by requiring smokers to bear more of the huge medical and other costs they had been imposing on others, the incentive to quit was substantially increased, and became even more effective. Banzhaf cites as examples the higher premiums he and the NAIC helped persuade health insurance companies to charge smokers, and especially the 50% smoker surcharge he helped to have included under Obamacare. The professor explains that the purpose of these financial moves once again was not so much to punish smokers or to pressure them to quit, but simply so that the huge costs they were imposing – estimated to be over $12,000/yr annually per smoker – would not be borne by nonsmokers in the form of higher taxes, lower workplace benefits, and ballooning health insurance premiums. Making Being Unvaccinated More Inconvenient And Expensive Now experience, backed up by research, is proving that the same strategy – making being unvaccinated more inconvenient and expensive – is, as with smoking, more effective than warnings and cajoling in getting people vaccinated. In other words, making employees and patrons at public venues provide proof of vaccination, requiring those who might be permitted to remain unvaccinated to pay for their own frequent Covid tests, charging higher health and other insurance rates for unvaccinated people (and also for any unvaccinated persons on their plans), and even declining to perform some medical operations on those refusing to be vaccinated, is the most effective way to fight Covid, and to protect the majority of Americans from infection, argues Banzhaf. Surveys suggest that these measures are also favored by a majority of Americans. Here are a few examples: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that lotteries to encourage vaccinations have little effect – “no statistically significant association” – in achieving that goal. In contrast, New York’s vaccination requirement get some 90% of its health care workers vaccinated. Indeed, the figures from even a month ago demonstrate the amazing effectiveness of New York’s requirement that health workers be vaccinated: Strong Memorial Hospital quickly achieved a 95.5% vaccination rate Albany Medical Center’s vaccination rate leaped to 98% St. Barnabas Hospital went from 20% unvaccinated to about 3% The Mohawk Valley Health System went up from 70% to about 96% Delta Airlines Achieved An Over 80% Compliance Rate United Airlines, one of the first big companies to require workers to be vaccinated or lose their jobs, found that, despite initial grumbling, about 99% of its employees agreed to be vaccinated. Similarly, Delta Airlines achieved an over 80% compliance rate by charging those who decline to be vaccinated a $200-per-month health insurance surcharge. Ochsner Health, the largest nonprofit health care system in Louisiana, now has the same surcharge. After Tyson Foods announced a vaccine requirement in early August, its vaccination rate jumped from 50% to at least 80%, even before the deadline for getting a shot. Novant Health in North Carolina, which originally announced that 375 of its 35,000 employees had been suspended and would soon be fired for being unvaccinated, found that 200 of the 375 finally did get vaccinated to keep their jobs, Despite a few widely reported situations where many employees threatened to quit – usually in situations where defiance was encouraged and led by recalcitrant unions – vaccine requirements have generally been very effective, are gaining in public support, have largely been upheld by the courts, and have lead to very few actual firings – the same results which occurred many years ago when companies first banned smoking on the job, and later even off the job. Making those who refuse to be vaccinated bear the consequences of their decisions – i.e., imposing some “personal responsibility” – has proven to be a very effective weapon in saving lives, and in helping to return life (especially life in the workplace and in many public places) to a near normal, with even less need if any for the vaccinated to be burdened with mask requirements, proclaims Banzhaf. Updated on Nov 9, 2021, 2:42 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 9th, 2021

Krysten Sinema is choosing lower taxes for the richest Americans over better healthcare for average Americans - and cutting the legs out from under the Build Back Better plan

In 2017, Kyrsten Sinema voted against Trump's agenda. Today, she's known as Big Pharma's favorite senator. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images With the Build Back Better bill, Congress has the best opportunity to expand healthcare in America. Yet donations from Big Pharma have incentivized Senator Kyrsten Sinema to block reform. It's time to tax the rich and use those funds to expand healthcare access. Laura Packard is executive director of Health Care Voter, and founder of Health Care Voices. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. Four years ago I walked into a doctor's office as a successful and healthy self-employed woman. Or so I thought. I walked out with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. I'm still here and in remission because of the care I received. I was lucky, because across America many people are still priced out of our healthcare system. As Congress advances the Build Back Better Act - a plan that would tackle many pressing issues in our society, including healthcare - they're also deciding what, and who, to leave out. And since Democrats are committed to making sure the plan doesn't add to the national debt, a lot of the decision making on what is in or out depends on how much money the bill can raise to offset the cost of the critical investments we need.Much depends on the votes of two Democratic senators: Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. They have both opposed various means of raising revenue by increasing taxes on the rich and corporations. Their stances make it harder to expand access to healthcare, so that no American has to choose between their finances and their life. Congressional allegiances should be with their constituents, not the giant pharmaceutical industry, big corporations, and the wealthy - and that means they should support raising taxes on the rich. The path ahead is clearIt's clear what the American people want: Polls show that eight in 10 American believe wealthy people and corporations aren't paying their fair share. At the same time, Americans want accessible and affordable healthcare and lower drug prices. The Build Back Better Act is the best way to achieve those goals: raise taxes and use that revenue to make Affordable Care Act plans more affordable, fill the Medicaid gap so low income Americans can get covered, and expand Medicare services to existing beneficiaries. At the same time, we can lower drug prices by giving Medicare the power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies.Back when Sinema was a member of the House, she opposed Trump's 2017 tax cut, which slashed taxes for corporations and the richest households. Now, having since emerged as the "Pharma favorite" and raising more campaign money in the last three months than in any other quarter since she became a senator, Sinema is voicing staunch opposition to upping taxes for the ultra wealthy. In a 50-50 split Senate, Sinema's opposition is enough to force Democrats into dropping some of their most popular ideas. Speaking of the high costs of pharmaceutical drugs, while I was going through six months of chemotherapy, my insurance that I purchased through the Affordable Care Act picked up most of the tab. Cancer patients are incredibly vulnerable after treatment, because our immune systems have been knocked down to nothing. After my first chemotherapy session, my doctors prescribed a drug for me to help my immune system recover faster. The drug, Neulasta, is made by pharma giant Amgen and would have cost me over $13,000 per injection. My insurance didn't cover it, so I went without and hoped for the best. But I spiked a fever from infection, and wound up back in the hospital for a week. The high cost of prescription drugs nearly led to my death.We shouldn't have to live like this. Congress has an opportunity to lower the outrageous costs of medications and healthcare. Not only could a more robust BBB bill rein in these prices, but it could also force greedy corporations like Amgen - one of Sinema's top three campaign contributors - to pay their fair share of taxes too. Tap dancing around the taxmanIn 2018 Amgen saw its tax bill slashed by over $1.1 billion thanks to Trump's tax law, plus it snagged an additional estimated $5.5 billion of savings from a one-time tax break to incentivize corporations to repatriate untaxed offshore profits. Amgen used their gigantic tax cut for a $10 billion stock buyback, which just helped their CEO and wealthy shareholders get richer. And even with the cut, big corporations like Amgen don't pay even what they owe. In August of 2021, an IRS audit revealed that the company owed $3.6 billion in back taxes, which Amgen is disputing.I'm a small business owner, and I pay my taxes every quarter. Like many Americans, I often face a big bill each year on Tax Day. I don't have the benefit of fancy lawyers and lobbyists to avoid my responsibilities. It's time for big corporations and ultra-rich CEOs to pay up too. But Amgen and other big pharma companies have been pouring money into campaigns to make sure Sinema and other holdouts protect their interests, even if it's worse for most Americans.Amgen has spent $4.7 million, and PhRMA (the trade association for Big Pharma corporations) has racked up $15.2 million on lobbying this year alone. Pharmaceutical companies have spent the most of any industry on federal lobbying in 2021: They've showered Congress with $171 million so far, almost roughly twice the amount of the next highest-spending industry.PhRMA made a seven-figure ad buy to attack the lower prescription drug pricing proposals in Build Back Better, and, along with their allies, have also spent $18 million on ads opposing Medicare negotiation proposals for more affordable drugs.Unfortunately, their money is having an effect. The Build Back Better framework originally released by the White House didn't include pieces to lower drug prices. Taxes on billionaires' wealth, and higher tax rates on big corporations? Gone too. And because of the lack of revenue, Americans would be limited to a partial expansion of Medicare - just hearing services - and a time-limited version of ACA tax credits and filling the Medicaid gap, which expire after 2025.Thankfully, Sinema struck a deal with President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on drug pricing reform, agreeing to a plan that would allow Medicare to negotiate some medication costs and lower out-of-pocket costs for millions. It's now on the House and Senate to get the Build Back Better Act passed as quickly as possible, and for it to reach the president's desk without any further cuts or compromises.Taxing the rich and corporations continues to be very popular among Americans. Now we need elected officials to listen to people like you and me instead of their wealthy elite donors. The future of our healthcare depends on Congress' financial incentives to improve it, and that's a dangerous prescription for America.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 4th, 2021

How 1.5 million aloe vera leaves are harvested a week

Some aloe vera products don't contain any aloe. But at the world's largest aloe farm in the Dominican Republic, they're slicing up the legit stuff. Aloe vera products are growing in popularity, and the industry is now worth $625 million. But some aloe vera products have been found to contain no traces of aloe. We visited the world's largest aloe farm in the Dominican Republic to find out how they harvest, slice up, and juice the legit stuff. Following is a transcription of the video:Narrator: Making aloe products takes quick hands.Rudy Colón: The leaf has thorns. As it grows, it develops more thorns.Narrator: A good knife ...Ruben Martinez: Daily, each of the employees has to fillet about 3,000 to 3,500 leaves.Narrator: ... and lots of plants. It takes about 20 aloe leaves to make just one gallon of aloe vera juice. But some aloe products have been found to contain no aloe at all.Tod: It's so easy to put out a fake aloe product. So there are all kinds of synthetic gels.Narrator: So how are real aloe vera products made? And can we spot the legit stuff in a $625 million industry? We visited the largest aloe farm in the world to find out.Universal Aloe's farm covers 5,000 acres here in the Dominican Republic. While there are hundreds of types of aloe plants, this farm chose Aloe barbadensis Miller because it has 20 amino acids.Jason: Minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, hormones, and other bioactive substances.Narrator: Once the baby plants are in the ground, it takes about eight months for them to mature. About 750 people harvest these fields. They're dispatched in groups, harvesting section by section.Rudy: You always remove the leaf that is full and cut and remove the tip. Then you remove the thorns at the bottom. We cut the mature leaf, going leaf by leaf not to hurt the plant that is going to remain.Narrator: The cut leaves won't grow back, but the plants will grow new ones. It will take them about a week to harvest just this one area.Rudy: The sun hits very hard here. And that's the tough thing about this job, but we are used to it. We need to work.Narrator: One by one, workers pick up all the harvested leaves and toss them into a truck. Those leaves head to a processing plant 2 miles up the road.Leonel Mesa: Every day, we get 260,000 pounds of fresh leaves here. And that's converted into 20,000 gallons of fresh juice for export daily. The process starts with the washing and disinfecting of the leaves.Narrator: The leaves go through a bath of chlorinated saltwater to kill off any little critters from the field that may be hanging around. Then they get trimmed.Leonel: They remove both the head and the tail of the leaf so that it is easier to extract the gel in the extraction area. And then we wash them a second time.Narrator: This jiggly fillet is the gel inside the aloe leaf. That's what's used in real aloe vera juice, gel, or skincare products.Leonel: We manually fillet the aloe vera leaves to remove the gel.Narrator: To do it, They need a really good knife.Ruben: I call him Lightning, because when I put him in, I feel like I'm going fast with him. It practically does the work for me.Narrator: They might make it look easy, but filleting takes precision.Ruben: It has to be placed exactly on the right spot to get the gel out of the leaf. It varies according to what sizes the leaves come in. When the leaves are bigger, it's good, because we are more productive. But when we get small leaves, it takes us longer to fillet them, and we get tired. We want to stop working.Narrator: And they have to move fast, filleting 3,500 leaves a day.Ruben: The fastest filleter? There are a lot. Sometimes we start to hold competitions to see who is faster. To sum it up, we are good.Narrator: Many aloe companies use machines for filleting.Leonel: Our production process is very artisanal. Around 80% of our entire process is manual because it produces less waste and because the leaves come in very different sizes.Narrator: The leftover leaf bits go back out into the field as compost. And the buckets of filets? Those get weighed, then poured onto this big table. Workers here will inspect them for any leftover leaf bits, which they'll then slice off. Once it's all clear, the fillets head to the shredder, which grinds them into a pure aloe gel.Leonel: From here, they pass to these pasteurization tubes. Any type of impurities and bacteria that could have been in the juice are removed.Narrator: At this point, ascorbic acid is added to extend the shelf life.Leonel: Our product is 99.9% pure aloe vera, and the other 0.1% is ascorbic acid.Narrator: The gel flows into this spill-proof bag.Leonel: These two robotic devices take the lid off the metallic bag, open it, fill it up, and seal it automatically so that there is no contact with the exterior.Narrator: This bag is then vacuum-sealed and put into a bigger metal box. The whole process from leaf to this container takes only about three hours. But before the shipment can leave the factory, its contents have to be tested for quality assurance.Leonel: We take about 20 to 25 samples daily.Jesus Santiago Jaquez: The chemical-physical test analyzes the pH, the viscosity, the color, texture, and everything concerning the appearance of the juice.Rafaelina Taveras: It takes me about an hour to do this kind of test.Narrator: Only when a container passes the lab tests can it be released for shipment. These ones are bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands. There, the gel will be pumped into bottles for Forever Living products. But not every bottle of aloe is made like this. In 2015, ConsumerLab.com tested 10 aloe products for ingredients.Tod: Half of them failed our test.Narrator: A 2016 Bloomberg investigation found that Walmart, CVS, and Target's aloe products contain no evidence of aloe at all.Tod: It's so easy to put out a fake aloe product. So there are all kinds of synthetic gels. Often you'll see a word like carbomer. It's a synthetic gel. And if you see a clear gel, you have no idea if it's really aloe or carbomer.Narrator: Most aloe products aren't closely regulated by the FDA. That's because they're considered supplements, or cosmetics, not drugs. So a product can say it contains aloe, but it could mean a range of things: It really does contain aloe fillet, or it's the whole leaf ground up and not just that inner fillet. Or it's a synthetic gel, and there's actually no aloe - which won't hurt you, but doesn't have any of the supposed benefits of aloe.Tod: There's not a lot of regulation or oversight of aloe products.Narrator: It's also hard to regulate because aloe grows naturally all over the Americas, and its gel has been used for thousands of years to heal burns and reduce inflammation.Jason: The challenge is translating that history to our current rigorous medical examination.Narrator: Another problem is there isn't clear scientific proof of aloe's healing powers. Some studies have shown it helps soothe burns and speed up healing, while others show no effect on burns.Tod: So it's not that aloe doesn't help. The evidence isn't there right now.Narrator: The outer rind of the leaf has been found to have a laxative compound called aloin. One study found that it caused cancer in rats, while another found it helped with constipation. But the FDA has banned aloe from being sold as an over-the-counter laxative drug.Tod: There's no patent on aloe, and so there isn't a lot of incentive for companies to be putting lots of money into clinical studies. They don't really need to do those studies to get these products on the shelf.Narrator: Still, consumers worldwide are flocking to aloe as they embrace more natural products. Universal Aloe saw a 30% increase in demand in 2020. As consumers navigate this growing market, how can we identify the products made with real aloe vera? Well, Todd says it's actually really tricky, but he did have a few suggestions. First, you should always check the ingredient list.Tod: You want to see aloe. You want to see it's first. You really need to be super careful on the wording, because if it just says "leaf," it could be any part of the leaf. You could be getting the latex, which you don't want, unless you want a laxative effect.Narrator: Look out for tricky wording like "100% gel." That could mean there is 100% gel, but not all of it is aloe fillet.Jason: So you really need to know what part of the leaf is being made. When they "aloe gel," is it a gel that's made from blending up the whole leaf, or is it truly just pure aloe gel?Narrator: Despite these uncertainties, experts don't expect the demand for aloe to dip anytime soon.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 2nd, 2021

Stick Better Than Carrot For Saving Lives – With Both Covid And Smoking

Stick Better Than Carrot For Saving Lives – With Both Covid And Smoking; Appeals Only Marginally Effective Against Massive Disinformation Campaigns Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Using A Stick Is Much More Effective Than A Carrot WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 26, 2021) – Using a stick is much more effective than a carrot […] Stick Better Than Carrot For Saving Lives – With Both Covid And Smoking; Appeals Only Marginally Effective Against Massive Disinformation Campaigns if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Using A Stick Is Much More Effective Than A Carrot WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 26, 2021) - Using a stick is much more effective than a carrot in preventing unnecessary deaths and disabilities from smoking and also now also from Covid, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who led the successful battle to save millions of smoker lives, and who has already begun contributing to saving lives threatened by Covid. Actually, says Banzhaf, "stick" is a misnomer since the measures proven to be so effective in getting smokers to quit, and now holdouts to be vaccinated, aren't designed to punish their unhealthy conduct, but rather to prevent them from continuing to inflict the damage it causes on the majority in the form of risks to life and health, as well as in huge additional financial costs. It has long been known that warnings and other health messages - even when coupled with incentives such as medical assistance and financial rewards - were not very effective in getting smokers to quit; in part because they had to try to overcome a massive disinformation campaign by the tobacco industry. What was effective were restrictions and requirements - e.g., bans on smoking on airplanes, at public places, and in workplaces - says Banzhaf, who led the fight for smoking bans during flights and then elsewhere. The purpose was not to punish smokers (a stick) but rather to protect nonsmokers; but, by making it very inconvenient not to quit, many smokers yielded to that incentive, he says. He adds that when companies went further and started insisting on having a smoker-free work force, similar to a drug-free work force, compliance - despite some initial grumbling and treats of quitting - went even higher. The Incentive To Quit Smoking In addition, by requiring smokers to bear more of the huge medical and other costs they had been imposing on others, the incentive to quit was substantially increased, and became even more effective. Banzhaf cites as examples the higher premiums he and the NAIC helped persuade health insurance to charge smokers, and especially the 50% smoker surcharge he helped promote under Obamacare. The professor explains that the purpose of these financial moves once again was not so much to punish smokers or to pressure them to quit, but simply so that the huge costs they were imposing - estimated to be over $12,000/yr annually per smoker - would not be borne by nonsmokers in the form of higher taxes, lower workplace benefits, and ballooning health insurance premiums. Now experience, backed up by research, is proving that the same strategy - making being unvaccinated more inconvenient and expensive - is, as with smoking, more effective than warnings and cajoling in getting people vaccinated. Proof Of Covid Vaccination In other words, making employees and patrons at public venues provide proof of vaccination, requiring those who might be permitted to remain unvaccinated to pay for their own frequent Covid tests, charging higher health and other insurance rates for unvaccinated people (and also for any unvaccinated persons on their plans), and even declining to perform some medical operations on those refusing to be vaccinated, is the most effective way to fight Covid, and to protect the majority of Americans from infection, argues Banzhaf. Here are a few examples: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that lotteries to encourage vaccinations have little effect - “no statistically significant association” - in achieving that goal. In contrast, New York's vaccination requirement get some 90% of its health care workers vaccinated. Indeed, the figures from even a month ago demonstrate the amazing effectiveness of New York's requirement that health workers be vaccinated: Strong Memorial Hospital quickly achieved a 95.5% vaccination rate Albany Medical Center's vaccination rate leaped to 98% St. Barnabas Hospital went from 20% unvaccinated to about 3% The Mohawk Valley Health System went up from 70% to about 96% Vaccination Requirements United Airlines, one of the first big companies to require workers to be vaccinated or lose their jobs, found that, despite initial grumbling, about 99% of its employees agreed to be vaccinated. Similarly, Delta Airlines achieved an over 80% compliance rate by charging those who decline to be vaccinated a $200-per-month health insurance surcharge. Ochsner Health, the largest nonprofit health care system in Louisiana, now has the same surcharge. After Tyson Foods announced a vaccine requirement in early August, its vaccination rate jumped from 50% to at least 80%, even before the deadline for getting a shot. Novant Health in North Carolina, which originally announced that 375 of its 35,000 employees had been suspended and would soon be fired for being unvaccinated, found that 200 of the 375 finally did get vaccinated to keep their jobs, Despite a few widely reported situations where many employees threatened to quit - usually in situations where defiance was encouraged and led by recalcitrant unions - vaccine requirements have generally been very effective, are gaining in public support, have largely been upheld by the courts, and have lead to very few actual firings - the same results which occurred many years ago when companies first banned smoking on the job, and later even off the job. Making those who refuse to be vaccinated bear the consequences of their decisions - i.e., imposing some "personal responsibility" - has proven to be a very effective weapon in saving lives, and in helping to return life (especially life in the workplace and in many public places) to a near normal, with even less need for the vaccinated to be burdened with mask requirements, proclaims Banzhaf. Updated on Oct 26, 2021, 2:56 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 26th, 2021

Some Americans were primed for vaccine skepticism after decades of mistrust in Big Pharma

Now, vaccine makers have made billions selling COVID-19 shots to countries, and soaring pharma stocks have minted a class of "vaccine billionaires." How distrust in pharmaceutical firms gave rise to the anti-vaxx movement, according to experts in the anti-vaccine movement and the history of Big Pharma. Samantha Lee/Insider Claims of mismanagement and greed in the pharmaceutical industry may have contributed to vaccine hesitancy. Of Americans who said they would "definitely not" get a COVID-19 vaccine, 20% say they trust drug companies, according to KFF. Pharma companies are now lobbying against waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. Ten months after the world's first COVID-19 vaccine received an emergency green light for use, the US is still reeling from COVID cases among mostly unvaccinated Americans.Among Americans who said in a recent survey that they will "definitely not" get a COVID-19 vaccine, only 20% said they trust pharmaceutical companies to provide reliable information, according to Ashley Kirzinger, the associate director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation.Pharmaceutical companies large and small are responsible for advancements in medical treatments that have helped cure diseases, relieve chronic pain, and save lives. Several developed COVID-19 vaccines that are highly effective at preventing severe disease. But publicized claims of mismanagement and greed among some of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, collectively known as Big Pharma, have eroded public trust and, in turn, have contributed to vaccine hesitancy among some Americans, experts told Insider."In the '50s, after World War II, the drug industry was highly respected; they saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Gerald Posner, investigative journalist and the author of "Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America," said in an interview. "They lost that over decades of greed and mismanagement."Now, as some pharmaceutical companies lobby to keep their COVID-19 vaccine formulas out of the hands of manufacturers in low-income countries (thereby maximizing profits from the life-saving shot), some Americans may develop a renewed distrust of Big Pharma, Posner said."[Pharmaceutical companies] are behaving as if they have absolutely no responsibility beyond maximizing the return on investment," Tom Frieden, infectious disease expert and a former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The New York Times.Skepticism of Big Pharma has been decades in the makingAmerican trust in Big Pharma reached a peak in the early-to-mid 20th century, when the pharmaceutical industry ushered in life-saving treatments like penicillin and vaccines, as Patrick Radden Keefe reports in his book "Empire of Pain."Public trust started to erode, however, with the invention and widespread adoption of addictive drugs, Keefe reported. Gallup, whose polling has placed pharmaceutical companies as America's least liked industry for the past two decades, attributes the public's dislike to the companies' high drug prices, tremendous lobbying budgets, and their roles in the opioid epidemic.Over the last 50 years, lawsuits began piling up against pharmaceutical companies, including those that developed COVID-19 vaccines. In 2013, Johnson & Johnson settled a federal investigation involving marketing fraud of several drugs, including one to treat dementia patients. Reuters reported in 2018 that small amounts of asbestos were found in the company's baby powder between the early 1970s and the early 2000s. The report claimed that the company failed to disclose that information, which Johnson & Johnson has repeatedly denied. The company is facing thousands of lawsuits alleging that the talc-based products caused cancer and mesothelioma.Last year, 46 US states sued 26 drug makers, including Pfizer, over allegations of conspiring to drive up drug prices. (Pfizer told Reuters the company did not behave in unlawful conduct.)In 2009, Pfizer, which produced the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, paid the second-largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history to settle accusations of misleading advertising of an anti-inflammatory drug. When asked to comment on this article, a Pfizer spokesperson told Insider the company "cannot speculate why some remain vaccine hesitant, but vaccination remains one of the best tools we have to help protect lives and work to achieve herd immunity."The anti-vaccine movement in the US, which gained momentum in the early 2000s, has tried to use drug industry scandals to discourage parents from inoculating their children, according to Dr. Stewart Lyman, the owner of Lyman Biopharma Consulting LLC and a vaccine advocate.In the mid-2010s, measles in children began resurfacing despite the CDC having declared measles as eliminated from the US in 2000. Some anti-vaccine believers fought for personal exemptions for vaccine mandates during local measles outbreaks. Others within the movement said not to trust the pharmaceutical company Merck with vaccines because of a whistleblower complaint claiming that the company overstated the effectiveness of the shot. (Merck did not respond to Insider's request for comment.) "In the fifties, after World War II, the drug industry was highly respected; they saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Gerald Posner, and investigative journalist and the author of "Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America, said in an interview. "They lost that over decades of greed and mismanagement." Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images Big Pharma's business model drives mistrust among vaccine skepticsKirzinger told Insider anecdotal data from Kaiser suggests some Americans are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine due to how pharmaceutical industries profit from shots, despite the shots being rigorously tested by scientists before given to the public and built on decades of research. Vaccine makers have made billions in revenue by selling the shots to countries, and soaring pharmaceutical stocks have minted a class of "vaccine billionaires.""[Some vaccine hesitant Americans] are talking about distrust of Pharma because they think that they're mostly concerned about profits rather than safety," Kirzinger said.The price of the life-saving hormone insulin, for example, has skyrocketed in the last decade, costing diabetes patients around $300 for a 10-millimeter vial, up from about $93 in 2009. Many low-income Americans have resorted to rationing insulin to make it last longer, and lawmakers are pressuring drug companies to reduce costs.Still, pharma companies are currently lobbying President Joe Biden to prevent him from waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines - thereby keeping manufacturers in poor countries from making life-saving shots for vulnerable populations.And while some vaccine makers like Johnson & Johnson have sold COVID-19 vaccines at cost, others, including Pfizer and Moderna, have sold them for a profit.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 24th, 2021

Roche"s (RHHBY) AD Drug Gets Breakthrough Therapy Status

Roche (RHHBY) gets Breakthrough Therapy Designation for gantenerumab for Alzheime's disease, which puts the spotlight on this challenging but promising space. Roche RHHBY recently announced that the FDA has granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation to its pipeline candidate, gantenerumab for the treatment of people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).This designation accelerates the development and review of drugs and treatments that are intended to treat serious or life-threatening conditions with preliminary evidence indicating that they may demonstrate a substantial improvement over available therapies having full FDA approval.Gantenerumab is an anti-amyloid beta antibody developed for subcutaneous administration.  The designation was based on data that showed gantenerumab significantly reduced brain amyloid plaque, a pathological hallmark of AD, in the ongoing SCarlet RoAD and Marguerite RoAD open-label extension studies, as well as other studies.The data observed from these studies have been incorporated into the optimized design of two ongoing parallel, global, placebo-controlled and randomized phase III studies — GRADUATE 1 and 2. The studies are evaluating gantenerumab in more than 2,000 participants for more than two years and are expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.Spotlight on AD TreatmentsThe FDA approval of Biogen’s BIIB and Eisai’s AD drug, Aduhelm (aducanumab), in June 2021 has put the spotlight on AD treatments. AD is a progressive, fatal disease of the brain, which is characterized by a decline in memory, language and other thinking skills along with behavioral changes. AD is the most common form of dementia. Approximately 10 million people globally are diagnosed with AD each year.However, Biogen recently mentioned that the launch of Aduhelm is facing some near-term launch challenges. Given the rising cases and lack of treatments, quite a few companies have invested millions and billions of dollars to successfully develop a treatment for the same but most have failed.Nevertheless, most of the bigwigs and smaller pharma/bioetechs continue to develop treatments for this promising yet challenging space. Biogen and partner Eisai recently announced that the latter has initiated a rolling submission of a biologics license application (BLA) for pipeline candidate, lecanemab (BAN2401).  The BLA is seeking approval for the candidate as a treatment for early AD under an accelerated pathway in the United States.Let us take a look at some of the other companies which have promising candidates in the pipeline for AD:3 Companies With Promising AD CandidatesProthena Corporation PRTA has a portfolio of programs for the potential treatment of AD including PRX012, which targets Aβ (Amyloid beta) and a novel dual Aβ-Tau vaccine. PRX012 is a high-affinity monoclonal antibody targeting a key epitope within the N-terminus of Aβ. The company is developing PRX012 as a next-generation, high potency, anti-abeta antibody with best-in-class potential. Another promising candidate is PRX005. It is an investigational antibody that targets tau, a protein implicated in diseases including AD. Prothena is developing a dual vaccine, which concomitantly targets key epitopes within both the Aβ and tau proteins. The dual Aβ-Tau vaccine is being developed for the potential prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.    Cassava Sciences, Inc. SAVA is evaluating its pipeline candidate simufilam, a proprietary, small molecule (oral) drug that restores the normal shape and function of altered filamin A (FLNA) protein in the brain, for AD. The company recently initiated an initial phase III efficacy study of simufilam. A second phase III efficacy study of simufilam in AD is expected to begin by the year-end. The late-stage efficacy studies of simufilam in AD are being conducted under Special Protocol Assessments (SPA) from the FDA.Eli Lilly and Company LLY is evaluating donanemab, an investigational antibody therapy for AD. The company's phase II study, TRAILBLAZER-ALZ, investigated the efficacy and safety of donanemab in patients with early, symptomatic AD.  Lilly intends to submit a BLA for donanemab under the accelerated approval pathway later this year based on data from TRAILBLAZER-ALZ. The safety, tolerability and efficacy of donanemab are also being evaluated in the ongoing phase III study TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 2  Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Biogen Inc. (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis Report Roche Holding AG (RHHBY): Free Stock Analysis Report Eli Lilly and Company (LLY): Free Stock Analysis Report Prothena Corporation plc (PRTA): Free Stock Analysis Report Cassava Sciences, Inc. (SAVA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 12th, 2021

3 Small Biotech Stocks in Focus on World Arthritis Day

Here we discuss three drugs or biotech companies with promising candidates in their pipeline for Arthritis indications. Every year World Arthritis Day is observed on Oct 12 to raise awareness on the disease’s far-reaching impact on patients across the globe. On this day, several arthritis-related groups including the Arthritis Foundation and European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (“EULAR”) spread messages on how to prevent arthritis and adopt healthy living.Although arthritis is not life threatening, it severely impacts the quality of life and participation in society of people suffering from the disease. The disease impacts a person’s self-esteem and also increases the burden on the state given their inability to work.Arthritis causes pain, swelling and stiffness in joints. There are several factors that may lead to arthritis including normal wear and tear in the body and inheritance. It is estimated that more than 54 million or approximately 23% of the U.S. adult population suffers from this ailment. Among them, 24 million adult patients face some type of limitations in their day-to-day life activities. Moreover, about a quarter of the adults suffering from arthritis suffer from severe joint pain. Arthritis commonly affects people who are already suffering from chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, which may lead to failure of proper management of the diseases.We note that osteoarthritis (“OA”) is the most common form of arthritis, which occurs mainly due to normal wear and tear in the body and the risk increases with age. The other types of arthritis also known as inflammatory arthritis include gout, rheumatoid arthritis (“RA”), and lupus. Inflammatory arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. When a person is diagnosed with arthritis before the age of 16, the condition is known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis.Drugs/Therapies Currently ApprovedWith several different types of arthritis, the treatment options also vary for each type. Currently, there is no cure for the disease and the treatment options either manage the symptoms or slow down the disease progression. It is believed that earlier a treatment is started, the better it is for the patients to help them manage the disease efficiently. However, arthritis is majorly diagnosed at a later stage that makes management of the disease difficult.The treatment options available for OA include primarily painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgery or joint replacements are available options for severe OA patients who do not get any relief with other treatment options. Although OA affects nearly 60% of the U.S. adult population suffering from arthritis, there have been no major developments in the treatment of this debilitating disease. However, inflammatory arthritis has several treatment options with different mechanisms, which help to manage disease progression. Some popular drugs available to treat rheumatoid arthritis include Abbvie’s ABBV Humira, Amgen’s AMGN Enbrel and J&J’s JNJ Remicade. There are several types of therapies available to treat lupus as well. Pfizer’s Xeljanz and Abbvie’s Rinvoq are two of the several drugs available for treating juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Several other big pharma companies market drugs targeting arthritis indications, making it a highly competitive field. However, with a rise in the aging population, the demand for arthritis drugs is likely to increase going forward.Stocks in FocusHere we present three small biotech/drug stocks with promising and innovative pipeline candidates targeting a type of arthritis. Successful development of these candidates will drive the prospects of the companies going forward.Bioventus BVSIt is one of the leading companies in the osteoarthritis segment with a market-leading portfolio of hyaluronic acid-based therapies used to treat knee pain due to OA. Currently, the company is evaluating a placental tissue particulate candidate, PTP-001, as a potential treatment for OA of the knee in a phase I study. With its significant presence in the OA segment, the company is likely to gain significantly from robust growth of the market, if it can successfully develop a cure. Moreover, positive updates on the candidate will likely drive shares higher.IMab IMABThe company is developing a pipeline candidate, plonmarlimab, as a potential treatment for RA in a phase I study. The disease-modifying anti-rheumatic candidate has the potential to be developed for treating other autoimmune and inflammatory indications. There is a significant unmet need for RA patients. The successful development of plonmarlimab is likely to boost the company’s prospects. Moreover, the company is also developing several other pipeline candidates targeting different diseases including several attractive oncology indications.Alpine Immune Sciences ALPNThe company is developing its pipeline candidate, ALPN-101, for treating patients with systemic lupus erythematosus in a phase II study. The company is developing the candidate in collaboration with AbbVie. A strong partner should help the company ward off any financial hurdle. Moreover, the company has a promising checkpoint inhibitor candidate, ALPN-202 that is being developed in combination with Merck’s anti PD-1 therapy, Keytruda, for treating advanced malignancies in an early-stage study. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Amgen Inc. (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report AbbVie Inc. (ABBV): Free Stock Analysis Report Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. (ALPN): Free Stock Analysis Report IMab Sponsored ADR (IMAB): Free Stock Analysis Report Bioventus Inc. (BVS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 12th, 2021

Snowden: Your Money AND Your Life

Snowden: Your Money AND Your Life Submitted by Edward Snowden via Continuing Ed, 1. This week's news, or “news,” about the US Treasury’s ability, or willingness, or just trial-balloon troll-suggestion to mint a one trillion dollar ($1,000,000,000,000) platinum coin in order to extend the country’s debt-limit reminded me of some other monetary reading I encountered, during the sweltering summer, when it first became clear to many that the greatest impediment to any new American infrastructure bill wasn’t going to be the debt-ceiling but the Congressional floor. That reading, which I accomplished while preparing lunch with the help of my favorite infrastructure, namely electricity, was of a transcript of a speech given by one Christopher J. Waller, a freshly-minted governor of the United States’ 51st and most powerful state, the Federal Reserve. The subject of this speech? CBDCs—which aren’t, unfortunately, some new form of cannabinoid that you might’ve missed, but instead the acronym for Central Bank Digital Currencies—the newest danger cresting the public horizon. Now, before we go any further, let me say that it’s been difficult for me to decide what exactly this speech is—whether it’s a minority report or just an attempt to pander to his hosts, the American Enterprise Institute.  But given that Waller, an economist and a last-minute Trump appointee to the Fed, will serve his term until January 2030, we lunchtime readers might discern an effort to influence future policy, and specifically to influence the Fed’s much-heralded and still-forthcoming “discussion paper”—a group-authored text—on the topic of the costs and benefits of creating a CBDC. That is, on the costs and benefits of creating an American CBDC, because China has already announced one, as have about a dozen other countries including most recently Nigeria, which in early October will roll out the eNaira. By this point, a reader who isn’t yet a subscriber to this particular Substack might be asking themselves, what the hell is a Central Bank Digital Currency?  Reader, I will tell you. Rather, I will tell you what a CBDC is NOT—it is NOT, as Wikipedia might tell you, a digital dollar. After all, most dollars are already digital, existing not as something folded in your wallet, but as an entry in a bank’s database, faithfully requested and rendered beneath the glass of your phone. In every example, money cannot exist outside the knowledge of the Central Bank Neither is a Central Bank Digital Currency a State-level embrace of cryptocurrency—at least not of cryptocurrency as pretty much everyone in the world who uses it currently understands it. Instead, a CBDC is something closer to being a perversion of cryptocurrency, or at least of the founding principles and protocols of cryptocurrency—a cryptofascist currency, an evil twin entered into the ledgers on Opposite Day, expressly designed to deny its users the basic ownership of their money and to install the State at the mediating center of every transaction.  2. For thousands of years priors to the advent of CBDCs, money—the conceptual unit of account that we represent with the generally physical, tangible objects we call currency—has been chiefly embodied in the form of coins struck from precious metals. The adjective “precious”—referring to the fundamental limit on availability established by what a massive pain in the ass it was to find and dig up the intrinsically scarce commodity out of the ground—was important, because, well, everyone cheats: the buyer in the marketplace shaves down his metal coin and saves up the scraps, the seller in the marketplace weighs the metal coin on dishonest scales, and the minter of the coin, who is usually the regent, or the State, dilutes the preciosity of the coin’s metal with lesser materials, to say nothing of other methods. Behold the glory of thelaw The history of banking is in many ways the history of this dilution—as governments soon discovered that through mere legislation they could declare that everyone within their borders had to accept that this year’s coins were equal to last year’s coins, even if the new coins had less silver and more lead. In many countries, the penalties for casting doubt on this system, even for pointing out the adulteration, was asset-seizure at best, and at worst: hanging, beheading, death-by-fire. In Imperial Rome, this currency-degradation, which today might be described as a “financial innovation,” would go on to finance previously-unaffordable policies and forever wars, leading eventually to the Crisis of the Third Century and Diocletian’s Edict on Maximum Prices, which outlived the collapse of the Roman economy and the empire itself in an appropriately memorable way: Tired of carrying around weighty bags of dinar and denarii, post-third-century merchants, particularly post-third-century traveling merchants, created more symbolic forms of currency, and so created commercial banking—the populist version of royal treasuries—whose most important early instruments were institutional promissory notes, which didn’t have their own intrinsic value but were backed by a commodity: They were pieces of parchment and paper that represented the right to be exchanged for some amount of a more-or-less intrinsically valuable coinage. The regimes that emerged from the fires of Rome extended this concept to establish their own convertible currencies, and little tiny shreds of rag circulated within the economy alongside their identical-in-symbolic-value, but distinct-in-intrinsic-value, coin equivalents. Beginning with an increase in printing paper notes, continuing with the cancellation of the right to exchange them for coinage, and culminating in the zinc-and-copper debasement of the coinage itself, city-states and later enterprising nation-states finally achieved what our old friend Waller and his cronies at the Fed would generously describe as “sovereign currency:” a handsome napkin. Sovereign currency, as known to history Once currency is understood in this way, it’s a short hop from napkin to network. The principle is the same: the new digital token circulates alongside the increasingly-absent old physical token. At first. Just as America’s old paper Silver Certificate could once be exchanged for a shiny, one-ounce Silver Dollar, the balance of digital dollars displayed on your phone banking app can today still be redeemed at a commercial bank for one printed green napkin, so long as that bank remains solvent or retains its depository insurance.  Should that promise-of-redemption seem a cold comfort, you’d do well to remember that the napkin in your wallet is still better than what you traded it for: a mere claim on a napkin for your wallet. Also, once that napkin is securely stowed away in your purse—or murse—the bank no longer gets to decide, or even know, how and where you use it. Also, the napkin will still work when the power-grid fails. The perfect companion for any reader’s lunch. 3. Advocates of CBDCs contend that these strictly-centralized currencies are the realization of a bold new standard—not a Gold Standard, or a Silver Standard, or even a Blockchain Standard, but something like a Spreadsheet Standard, where every central-bank-issued-dollar is held by a central-bank-managed account, recorded in a vast ledger-of-State that can be continuously scrutizined and eternally revised. CBDC proponents claim that this will make everyday transactions both safer (by removing counterparty risk), and easier to tax (by rendering it well nigh impossible to hide money from the government).  CBDC opponents, however, cite that very same purported “safety” and “ease” to argue that an e-dollar, say, is merely an extension to, or financial manifestation of, the ever-encroaching surveillance state. To these critics, the method by which this proposal eradicates bankruptcy fallout and tax dodgers draws a bright red line under its deadly flaw: these only come at the cost of placing the State, newly privy to the use and custodianship of every dollar, at the center of monetary interaction. Look at China, the napkin-clingers cry, where the new ban on Bitcoin, along with the release of the digital-yuan, is clearly intended to increase the ability of the State to “intermediate”—to impose itself in the middle of—every last transaction. “Intermediation,” and its opposite “disintermediation,” constitute the heart of the matter, and it’s notable how reliant Waller’s speech is on these terms, whose origins can be found not in capitalist policy but, ironically, in Marxist critique. What they mean is: who or what stands between your money and your intentions for it. What some economists have lately taken to calling, with a suspiciously pejorative emphasis, “decentralized cryptocurrencies”—meaning Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others—are regarded by both central and commercial banks as dangerous disintermediators; precisely because they’ve been designed to ensure equal protection for all users, with no special privileges extended to the State. This “crypto”—whose very technology was primarily created in order to correct the centralization that now threatens it—was, generally is, and should be constitutionally unconcerned with who possesses it and uses it for what. To traditional banks, however, not to mention to states with sovereign currencies, this is unacceptable: These upstart crypto-competitors represent an epochal disruption, promising the possibility of storing and moving verifiable value independent of State approval, and so placing their users beyond the reach of Rome. Opposition to such free trade is all-too-often concealed beneath a veneer of paternalistic concern, with the State claiming that in the absence of its own loving intermediation, the market will inevitably devolve into unlawful gambling dens and fleshpots rife with tax fraud, drug deals, and gun-running.  It’s difficult to countenance this claim, however, when according to none other than the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the US Department of the Treasury, “Although virtual currencies are used for illicit transactions, the volume is small compared to the volume of illicit activity through traditional financial services.” Traditional financial services, of course, being the very face and definition of “intermediation”—services that seek to extract for themselves a piece of our every exchange. 4. Which brings us back to Waller—who might be called an anti-disintermediator, a defender of the commercial banking system and its services that store and invest (and often lose) the money that the American central banking system, the Fed, decides to print (often in the middle of the night). You’d be surprised how many opinion-writers are willing to publicly pretend they can’t tell the difference between an accounting trick and money-printing. And yet I admit that I still find his remarks compelling—chiefly because I reject his rationale, but concur with his conclusions. It’s Waller’s opinion, as well as my own, that the United States does not need to develop its own CBDC. Yet while Waller believes that the US doesn’t need a CBDC because of its already robust commercial banking sector, I believe that the US doesn’t need a CBDC despite the banks, whose activities are, to my mind, almost all better and more equitably accomplished these days by the robust, diverse, and sustainable ecosystem of non-State cryptocurrencies (translation: regular crypto).  I risk few readers by asserting that the commercial banking sector is not, as Waller avers, the solution, but is in fact the problem—a parasitic and utterly inefficient industry that has preyed upon its customers with an impunity backstopped by regular bail-outs from the Fed, thanks to the dubious fiction that it is “too big too fail.” But even as the banking-industrial complex has become larger, its utility has withered—especially in comparison to crypto. Commercial banking once uniquely secured otherwise risky transactions, ensuring escrow and reversibility. Similarly, credit and investment were unavailable, and perhaps even unimaginable, without it. Today you can enjoy any of these in three clicks. Still, banks have an older role. Since the inception of commercial banking, or at least since its capitalization by central banking, the industry’s most important function has been the moving of money, fulfilling the promise of those promissory notes of old by allowing their redemption in different cities, or in different countries, and by allowing bearers and redeemers of those notes to make payments on their and others’ behalf across similar distances. For most of history, moving money in such a manner required the storing of it, and in great quantities—necessitating the palpable security of vaults and guards. But as intrinsically valuable money gave way to our little napkins, and napkins give way to their intangible digital equivalents, that has changed. Today, however, there isn’t much in the vaults. If you walk into a bank, even without a mask over your face, and attempt a sizable withdrawal, you’re almost always going to be told to come back next Wednesday, as the physical currency you’re requesting has to be ordered from the rare branch or reserve that actually has it. Meanwhile, the guard, no less mythologized in the mind than the granite and marble he paces, is just an old man with tired feet, paid too little to use the gun that he carries.  These are what commercial banks have been reduced to: “intermediating” money-ordering-services that profit off penalties and fees—protected by your grandfather. In sum, in an increasingly digital society, there is almost nothing a bank can do to provide access to and protect your assets that an algorithm can’t replicate and improve upon. On the other hand, when Christmas comes around, cryptocurrencies don’t give out those little tiny desk calendars. But let’s return to close with that bank security guard, who after helping to close up the bank for the day probably goes off to work a second job, to make ends meet—at a gas station, say.  Will a CBDC be helpful to him? Will an e-dollar improve his life, more than a cash dollar would, or a dollar-equivalent in Bitcoin, or in some stablecoin, or even in an FDIC-insured stablecoin? Let’s say that his doctor has told him that the sedentary or just-standing-around nature of his work at the bank has impacted his health, and contributed to dangerous weight gain. Our guard must cut down on sugar, and his private insurance company—which he’s been publicly mandated to deal with—now starts tracking his pre-diabetic condition and passes data on that condition on to the systems that control his CBDC wallet, so that the next time he goes to the deli and tries to buy some candy, he’s rejected—he can’t—his wallet just refuses to pay, even if it was his intention to buy that candy for his granddaughter. Or, let’s say that one of his e-dollars, which he received as a tip at his gas station job, happens to be later registered by a central authority as having been used, by its previous possessor, to execute a suspicious transaction, whether it was a drug deal or a donation to a totally innocent and in fact totally life-affirming charity operating in a foreign country deemed hostile to US foreign policy, and so it becomes frozen and even has to be “civilly” forfeited. How will our beleagured guard get it back? Will he ever be able to prove that said e-dollar is legitimately his and retake possession of it, and how much would that proof ultimately cost him? Our guard earns his living with his labor—he earns it with his body, and yet by the time that body inevitably breaks down, will he have amassed enough of a grubstake to comfortably retire? And if not, can he ever hope to rely on the State’s benevolent, or even adequate, provision—for his welfare, his care, his healing?  This is the question that I’d like Waller, that I’d like all of the Fed, and the Treasury, and the rest of the US government, to answer:  Of all the things that might be centralized and nationalized in this poor man’s life, should it really be his money? Subscribe here Tyler Durden Sun, 10/10/2021 - 20:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 10th, 2021

Merck (MRK) to Acquire Acceleron, Build Rare Disease Portfolio

Merck (MRK) is set to acquire rare diseases-focused company Acceleron Pharma for $11.5 billion and gain access to its promising phase III candidate. Putting all rumors to rest, Merck MRK has announced that it will acquire Acceleron Pharma, Inc. XLRN for $180 per share in cash for an approximate total equity value of $11.5 billion in a bid to build its rare diseases portfolio.Acceleron, a biopharmaceutical company with a focus on rare diseases, has been in the spotlight of late on acquisition rumors that led to a surge in its share price. Bristol Myers Squibb BMY, which already owns an 11.5% stake in Acceleron, was also a likely suitor for the same.Acceleron’s stock has gained 34.5% in the year so far against the industry’s decline of 5.6%. Shares have gained steam in the last couple of weeks as the acquisition talks started doing the rounds.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPer the terms, Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Acceleron. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.The acquisition will give Merck access to Accelereon’s promising pipeline candidate — sotatercept — which is being evaluated for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a progressive and life-threatening blood vessel disorder. Sotatercept, currently in phase III studies as an add-on to the current standard of care for the treatment of PAH, has a novel mechanism of action with the potential to improve short-term and/or long-term clinical outcomes in PAH patients. Sotatercept is being evaluated in multiple phase III studies for the treatment of certain patients with PAH as well as a phase II study in patients with combined post- and pre-capillary pulmonary hypertension in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. It enjoys orphan drug status and was also granted Breakthrough Therapy designation in the United StatesThis apart, Acceleron earns royalties on sales of Reblozyl (luspatercept-aamt), which has been developed as part of its global collaboration with Bristol Myers.  Reblozyl is approved for the treatment of anemia in certain rare blood disorders in the United States and Europe, among other countries.Once the acquisition is completed, Merck will receive royalty payments in the low-to-mid-20% range of global net sales of Reblozyl from Bristol Myers. For sotatercept, Merck will retain exclusive development and commercialization rights in PAH and will pay Bristol Myers a flat royalty in the low-20% range.Our TakePAH market represents a significant opportunity and the potential approval of sotatercept strengthens Merck’s cardiovascular portfolio.Assuming an approval and targeted launch in the 2024-2025 timeframe, the acquisition will diversify Merck’s revenue base. The company is highly dependent on its blockbuster immuno-oncology drug Keytruda, which in turn is slated to lose its exclusivity period later in the decade. In the conference call, management stated that the PAH market is expected to reach roughly $7.5 billion by 2026, according to EvaluatePharma.Merck’s shares have declined 8.2% so far this year against the industry’s 7.9% increase.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe acquisition should boost Merck’s top line once sotatercept gains approval. Management stated that commercial exclusivity for PAH in the United States is expected to extend through 2036-2037.However, it might not be enough to offset the decline in revenues once Keytruda loses exclusivity. While mergers & acquisitions have always taken centerstage in the pharma/biotech sector, there hasn’t been much happening on that front in the year so far, barring a few. Earlier, AstraZeneca AZN acquired Alexion for $39 billion. Nevertheless, as the economic situation improves, the pace is expected to pick up as pharma/biotech bigwigs constantly eye lucrative acquisitions to bolster their portfolio/pipeline and combat rivalry.Merck currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.      Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report AstraZeneca PLC (AZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Free Stock Analysis Report Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report Acceleron Pharma Inc. (XLRN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 1st, 2021