There’s been a good amount of excitement surrounding AMD‘s new Radeon RX Vega line of graphics cards, which started shipping out just 10 days ago. Out of the gate, though, AMD is having problems keeping up with demand, resulting in customers being forced to search high and low for them. Today we’re finding out why this shortage is occurring and how long it may last. According to a new report from DigiTimes, some sources claim that the Radeon RX Vega shortage can be blamed on low product packaging yield rates. Those low yields are, in turn, thanks to the fact that Vega cards integrate high bandwidth memory into the hardware of the GPU. Other sources say that it may not have anything to do with the presence of hig -bandwidth memory, but rather simply with Advanced Semiconductor Engineering’s packaging technology.Whatever the reason, AMD has confirmed that demand is outpacing supply, and that it will work to ramp up Radeon RX Vega64 production. Those of you who are still looking for one can expect new cards to become available over the next few days and weeks, both as a standalone product and in gaming bundles.That’s the good news. The bad news is that these shortages may not be fully solved until sometime in October, meaning that they could last as long as another two months. That, obviously, is not a desirable outcome for AMD, so we can expect it to try to solve the problem well before then. If the problem can be blamed on packaging as some of these sources suggest, however, when this supply problem gets solved could be out of AMD’s hands.DigiTimes also points out that NVIDIA has chosen not to rush its upcoming Volta-based GPU to market, at least in part because the competition from these RX Vega GPUs is “not as big as expected.” We’ll see if AMD can turn around its Vega supply issues before October actually arrives, but in the meantime, you might want to jump on these cards if you’re lucky enough to find one available. Story TimelineAMD Radeon Vega Frontier goes after NVIDIA in machine learningAMD Radeon RX Vega images reveal air and liquid cooled versionsAMD Radeon RX Vega GPUs, Threadripper CPUs launched
Hurrah! At last we can kiss goodbye to the misery of popups asking us to like and give stars to their app… a small thing but pleasing pic.twitter.com/UEbfnuutxV— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) September 26, 2017 It’s not strictly new, but this iOS setting just changed the way I use apps, download apps, and keep apps to use in the future. This isn’t the way I used to do things – I’d usually test and app until a “would you PLZ rate our app, THX” popup occurred, then I’d delete the app immediately. But that’s no longer the deal, per Apple’s new rules and this one setting. What we’ll find out now is if this setting and these rules have the gas to change the way apps get rated by everyday average users. Story TimelineiOS 11 release is tomorrow: Our essential ‘getting ready’ listiOS 11 released: Here’s what to do to downloadiOS 11 features: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth togglesFlappy Bird killed for good by iOS 11iOS 11 just destroyed Uber’s most annoying privacy flawApple says iPhone 3D Touch multitasking gesture will return in iOS 11Firefox on iOS 11 blocks tracking, Firefox Focus gets more tabs Apple’s now-enforced pop-up rulesApple’s developer rules include a bit more control over the way app developers beg users for reviews of their app. Instead of that pop-up leading back to the app store, that pop-up allows the user to rate the app right then and there. One a rating is left, the pop-up never returns, ever. This is a new Apple-made review request pop-up, and Apple is now enforcing the requirement for app developers to use it. Not that they HAVE to use it, but if they’d like to include any sort of review request in their app, this is the one they need to use. This pop-up also has a restriction of 3-pops per year, and if it’s ever used to rate the app, it still needs to go away forever.The SettingThe setting referenced above goes further to end the practice of annoying pop-ups begging for reviews in apps. This setting is a switch relatively hidden – if you’re not the sort of person to go fiddling with settings on an average afternoon. The page you’ll be looking for is in Settings under iTunes & App Store. Inside iTunes & App Store (in Settings), there’s a switch near “In-App Ratings & Reviews” – which you can now switch OFF. This setting sits right below another important setting for Video Autoplay, which I also recommend you switch off. Below our favorite new setting is a third switch called “Offload Unused Apps” – that’ll be particularly helpful for those users that download several apps a day for the fun of it – and never take the time to clean up. UPDATE: Stephen Fry approves of this setting.
There are three reasons why less capable iOS jailbreakers should hold off on LiberiOS unless they’re absolutely sure they need to jailbreak their iPhone 8 or iPhone X. The simplest is that it only works on iOS 11.0 through iOS 11.1. Apple has stopped signing those versions so should anything go wrong, you can only upgrade to iOS 11.2 and that’s the end of the jailbreaking adventure.The second reason is that LiberiOS is what is called a tethered jailbreak. That practically means that you need to perform the jailbreaking process every time you reboot your phone.But probably the biggest reason to wait for a while is that Cydia isn’t supported yet. Without an app store for jailbroken devices, a jailbroken iOS device is practically useless. While developer Jonathan Levin promises that it will come, the priority is to actually make the jailbreak stable first.AdChoices广告SOURCE: LiberiOS Jailbreakig iOS devices has always been a hot topic, much more than rooting in the Android world. Lately, however, it has become even more heated because of iOS 11. Never mind the drama surrounding Cydia developer Saurik. To date, there is no ready and simple to use jailbreak method for iOS 11, though there is at least one proof-of-concept based on a new bug discovery tool developed by Ian Beer from Google Project Zero. And while this new LiberiOS jailbreak looks promising, it is something only the most daring and most skilled of jailbreakers should attempt to use.
Huawei has brought a pair of Android tablets to Mobile World Congress, the new MediaPad M5 in 8.4-inch and 10.8-inch sizes, as it pushes back against the iPad Pro. While tablet sales in general may be struggling, Huawei insists that they’re still a big growth area: indeed, it claims to have seen double-digit growth in the category over the last three years. The same charger is used for the tablets themselves. Huawei says that the MediaPad M5 8.4 should last for up to 11 hours of 1080p video playback, and recharge fully in under two hours. The MediaPad M5 10.8, meanwhile, will run for up to 10 hours of 1080p playback, and charge fully in under three hours. Update: Huawei says that the MediaPad M5 will arrive in stores in the spring of 2018. Prices will kick off from 349 EUR ($430) for the 8.4-inch model, and from 399 EUR ($492) for the 10.8-inch model. Huawei will off a MediaPad M5 Pro 10.8 package, which will include both the tablet and the keyboard case. That’ll be priced from 499 EUR ($615). Final US pricing is yet to be confirmed. The new MediaPad M5 duo, therefore, will aim to capitalize on the main audiences involved in that growth: those interested in media consumption, and those wanting to replace their laptop and do content creation. Both the 10.8- and the 8.4-inch models have 2560 x 1600 ClariVu IPS displays, and each use Huawei’s own Kirin 960 processor. They borrow styling and technology from the company’s smartphone division, too, with a metal chassis combined with 2.5D curved glass. The U-shaped antennas are also lifted directly from Huawei’s recent handsets. Indeed, the MediaPad M5 will be offered in cellular-connected versions, too, with global WWAN band support. Huawei MediaPad M5 Gallery There’s more to distinguish the pair than just screen size, mind. The MediaPad M5 8.4 has a pair of Harmon Kardon speakers, while the MediaPad M5 10.8 doubles that up with four speakers. The latter also has pogo-pins on the back, allowing it to be docked with Huawei’s keyboard case. That folio has a full-sized keyboard and turns the tablet into a notebook replacement, at least in theory.Dock it, and the familiar Android UI switches to Huawei’s more Windows-like interface. It’s courtesy of EMUI 8.0, and promises Office-style apps for those wanting to handle documents and more. The 10.8-inch model also comes with Huawei’s M-Pen, too, with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It has 50 days of battery life, and recharges via USB Type-C in about an hour.
Like everything else related to Google, YouTube uses algorithms and machine learning to automate the process of weeding out inappropriate content. It turns out, however, that it’s not enough and some have managed to game the system to sneak in inappropriate content or ads. Google solution is something Apple would probably point out it should have done from the beginning: curation by humans.YouTube Kids now offers a set of trusted channels that have been chosen by the YouTube Kids team and delivered by partners such as Sesame Workshop and PBS KIDS. These collections cover a wide range of topics to keeps kid interested and educated. In addition to this curated content, YouTube Kids will also give parents the ability to have their own curated selection of videos and channels, limiting what kids will be able to see. That control extends to the search-off feature where parents can opt to exclude recommendations that haven’t been vetted by the YouTube Kids team.Even as YouTube takes stronger measures to enhance its YouTube Kids app, the service itself continues to come under fire for endangering minors. Earlier this month, it a consortium of consumer rights and privacy groups filed an FTC complaint against YouTube, alleging that its main YouTube site, not YouTube Kids, collects children’s data without parental consent, in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or COPPA. While YouTube has yet to formally respond, complaints such as this also bring to light potential COPPA loopholes that could give the likes of YouTube a free pass. The Internet can be a scary place even for grownups who (at least should) know better. Imagine how even more dangerous it could be for young ones. As the biggest video source on the Internet, YouTube creates a dedicated YouTube Kids app to become a safe haven for children, basically anyone under 13 years old, to enjoy the treasury of the service’s content. In light of recent criticisms and even legal complaints, YouTube is rolling out a few changes to give parents and kids better choices in what they consume and how they consume it.
The Nokia 5.1 and 3.1 are both part of the Android One family, while the Nokia 2.1 model is an Android Oreo Go edition handset. Looking first at the 2.1, this entry-level device has a 5.5-inch “HD” display with dual front speakers, a 4000mAh battery, and a stainless steel case. The handset is powered by a Snapdragon 425 64-bit Mobile Platform, there’s an 8MP rear camera, and a 5MP front-facing camera. Next up on the list is the Nokia 3.1, a 5.2-inch HD+ smartphone with a 2.5D curved display, Gorilla Glass, and CNC machined aluminum sides. The 3.1 model is powered by an octa-core MediaTek 6750 chipset alongside a 13MP camera, up to 3GB of memory and 32GB of internal storage, and NFC.Chief among the three is the Nokia 5.1, a larger device with a 5.5-inch Full HD+ display, 18:9 aspect ratio, 2GHz MediaTek Helio P18 octa-core processor, 16MP rear camera, fingerprint sensor, NFC, and an aluminum body. As with the 3.1 model, the 5.1 will be offered in two configurations: 2GB / 16GB and 3GB / 32GB.The Nokia 2.1 ($115 USD) and 5.1 (189 Euro) will be available in July, while the 3.1 is set to launch next month for 139 Euro. HMD has unveiled the new Nokia 5.1, 3.1, and 2.1 Android smartphone models, the first two of which are Android One devices. The company plans to launch the phones this summer starting with the Nokia 3.1 next month. All three phones fall into the affordable price range, expanding the number of relatively budget-friendly handsets offering a pure Android experience.
The 512GB ROM of the Galaxy Note9 is only available in South Korea and China. pic.twitter.com/w4StxlFAv9— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 17, 2018 Hopefully, that will be the only point of difference across markets. The Galaxy Note 9 is expected to come with 6 GB of RAM and, aside from this “special edition”, up to 256 GB of storage. The biggest change might come in the battery, which could have a 4,000 mAh capacity. That doesn’t often vary from market to market, at least.AdChoices广告Story TimelineGalaxy Note 9 battery explains camera design and it’s all goodGalaxy Note 9’s secret weapon: This is itGalaxy Note 9 in pictures: If this is it, fans aren’t buying it Samsung, along with compatriot LG, has always been one of the biggest offenders in this category. Never mind not making some colors available in some markets, it also limits certain features as well. Dual SIM models, for example, often aren’t available in the US and certain storage capacities will also be limited to certain markets.That’s allegedly the case with the 512 GB Galaxy Note 9, if there is indeed one. According to the latest leaks, this model will only be available in South Korea and China. These are often the markets favored with higher specs than the US or UK or other markets. It’s an unfair and honestly unreasonable fact of life that not all smartphones of the same model are created equal. Depending on which market you’re on, you might have access to features or designs that aren’t available to others. Companies call it “strategic business decisions”. Consumers call it insane. Either way, Samsung isn’t bucking the trend this year with the upcoming Galaxy Note 9, which may come with its first ever 512 GB capacity. And it won’t be sold to majority of the world’s population.
It’d be a feat indeed to increase the amount of components in the smartphone from generation to generation when the device stays the same size. It is perhaps in a more tightly packed conglomeration of hardware elements that the Galaxy Note 9 finds more room for heat dissipation metal. Below you’ll see an X-ray of the Note 8 from iFixit. Not so sure where Samsung’s going to have a whole lot of copper tubing in the new model really – seems kinda like a tall order for such a component-packed smartphone.The tip comes from notorious leaksters at @Samsung_News_ on Twitter. They also delivered a few images from Mengtor, a components shop of some note. One would expect that a shop called MENGTOR would sell black metal accessories – like spikes and whatnot – but they don’t. SEE TOO: If Note 9 like this, sign me up (if wishes were fishes)It’s quite likely the folks at Mengtor do indeed have access to parts lists for the Galaxy Note 9. What’s strange is their timing. What good is listing parts for a device that’s not yet on the market? Articles like the one you’re in now. People remember where the parts were listed, and they head back in and buy them when the time is right. If these parts are ready to be listed, the entirety of the innards of the Galaxy Note 9 must be out in the wild – at least in parts shops and at case-maker manufacturer’s 3D-printing stations. As such, there’s a good chance it’s evident the entirety of the right side of the device could be seen by the eyes of a leaker like Samsung_News_, which is how they’re able to relay said information to the web.The processor in the Galaxy Note 9 will almost certainly be part of either a Qualcomm Snapdragon or a Samsung Exynos model SoC. Even if this processor isn’t significantly more powerful than other top-tier smartphones released late this year, a significant increase in heat dissipation would improve the Galaxy Note 9’s ability to perform.If all goes as expected, the Galaxy Note 9 will be revealed on the 9th of August, 2018. Thereafter it’ll likely be available on preorder within the week. The Galaxy Note 9 will probably be available in-store in the United States within the month – perhaps on the 24th of the month, if I were to venture a guess. Have a peek at the links below to learn more. Story TimelineGalaxy Note 9 may replace your PC with just a USB-C cordGalaxy Note 9’s most precious detail leakedGiant Galaxy Note 9 leak: All Samsung accessoriesGalaxy Note 9 price might not be so bad after all A Samsung Galaxy Note 9 detail was tipped today in the realm of coolness. Where the company’s claims for a renewed bout of processing speed comes from seems to be in the tubes. Right under the backside cover of the Galaxy Note 9, “almost half of the right side” will apparently be “covered with copper tubes to decrease the heat in the device.”
The company experienced a 17-percent revenue increase in Q3 2018 versus the same quarter last year. Overall, Apple says that 60-percent of the quarter’s revenue was due to international sales. The revenue figures exceeded analysts’ expectations, though the actual iPhone unit sales came in slightly under what was forecasted, thanks to overall higher iPhone prices. Talking about the financial results is Apple CFO Luca Maestri, who said:Our strong business performance drove revenue growth in each of our geographic segments, net income of $11.5 billion, and operating cash flow of $14.5 billion. We returned almost $25 billion to investors through our capital return program during the quarter, including $20 billion in share repurchases.Looking to the future, Apple expects to see revenue between $60 and $62 billion in its fourth 2018 fiscal quarter, with a gross margin falling between 38- and 38.5-percent and operating expenses between $7.95 and $8.05 billion. SOURCE: Apple Apple has announced its third quarter 2018 financial results, revealing a quarterly revenue of $53.3 billion. This was the company’s best June quarter ever, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who cites strong iPhone, Services and Wearables sales as the driving force for Q3. As well, Apple boasts that this was its fourth consecutive quarter seeing double-digital growth in revenue.
The back doors keep their rear hinges, just as on the Crew Cab, for easier entrance and exit as well as loading and unloading. The bed is 6.5-foot, and there’s a maximum payload capacity of 1,640 pounds in the Titan King Cab. Maximum towing is 9,420 pounds from its standard 5.6-liter Endurance V8 engine and 7-speed automatic gearbox, good for 390 HP. Two engines will be offered in King Cab XD configuration, meanwhile. First, there’s the same 5.6-liter Endurance V8 as the regular Titan, with a 7-speed automatic and 390 HP. Alternatively, there’s a 5.0-liter Cummins V8 turbo-diesel, with a 6-speed Aisin A466ND automatic and 310 HP; it packs 555 lb-ft. of torque. The gas version will have a maximum payload capacity of 2,710 pounds, while the diesel will have a maximum towing capacity of 12,510 pounds. NOW READ: Nissan Titan XD ReviewBoth 4×2 and 4×4 drive will be offered, on both versions, and there are three trim levels, S, SV, and PRO-4X. Heated front seats are optional on the PRO-4X and SV grades, while the PRO-4X can also optionally be had with cooled front seats too. As per the existing Titan and Titan XD, there’s a five year, 100,000 mile warranty. Pricing will be confirmed closer to the new trucks’ release, which is expected in spring 2017. Nissan has added a King Cab to its 2017 Titan and Titan XD trucks, offering space for six as well as a 6.5-foot bed. Building on the 2017 Titan and Titan XD Crew Cab and Single Cab models launched last year, the new truck increases cabin space considerably. However, that can be used for more than just people, with Nissan offering a brand new option to the full-size pickup segment. 2017 TITAN and TITAN XD King Cab Gallery Normally, the King Cab is offered with a front split bench seat, but front bucket seats are an option on the SV and standard on the PRO-4X trim. A 60/40 split rear bench is also standard. New to the segment, though, is a “rear seat delete” option.That, as the name suggests, does away with the rear bench altogether, along with the rear heater duct and rear roof grips. Instead, you get a flat floor and tie-down hooks. Nissan expects it to be particularly popular with commercial truck buyers wanting secure and weatherproof interior storage.
The near-production Bentayga W12 averaged 66.5 mph up the mountain and put in a time of 10:49.9. That is much, much slower than the VW’s 7.57.148 time, but Bentley was able to walk away with the SUV class record. Bentley doesn’t mention what time the second place SUV put in.Bentley is clear on pointing out that the only modifications made to the Bentayga for the race were those required by the rules. That included some weight reduction, a roll cage, racing seats and harnesses, and a fire suppression system. The racing Bentayga used an Akrapovic sports exhaust system.Bentley has also announced that it will be building a special limited edition Bentayga to celebrate the record-setting run. Only ten of the limited-edition SUVs will be made and each will be handcrafted by Mulliner. Bentley says that the ten limited edition rides will pay homage to the Bentayga W12’s achievements on the mountain. The special rides will have either deep Beluga black or Radium paint with 22-inch wheels in two-tone Radium and Beluga accents. The black specification is included with all chrome replaced with black and the SUV gets carbon fiber splitter, side skirts, diffuser, and rear spoiler with a subtle Pikes Peak motif on the front fenders. The special edition will launch in August for US and European customers.SOURCE: Bentley The VW I.D. R Pikes Peak may have grabbed the overall top time and set a record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb but it’s not the only record holder at this year’s event. Bentley has announced that the Bentayga SUV that it prepared for months ahead of the hill climb has taken the SUV class record for the event. The big SUV was piloted by Rhys Millen.
A new image of what is claimed to be the rear end of the Supra has leaked. The image shows the car clad in a beautiful yellow shade complete with Supra name under the trunk lid. The tail lights are sculpted and nice looking with the trunk lid having an integrated ducktail spoiler.The rear valance is black and has what appears to be louvers for aerodynamics. Fans of the Supra have been a bit concerned over pricing. A rumor on the Z4 pegged the M40i version of that car to carry a price that is rumored to pass the $65,000 range.The fear is that Toyota will try and hold to similar pricing putting the Supra out of reach of the legions of buyers wanting one. The Surpa rear looks similar to the FT-1 concept that was shown off in 2014. Notably, the Supra leak lacks the retractable spoiler seen on that concept, but it may be tucked away in this leaked image. The rear air vents are missing in the Supra that were seen on the FT-1. Car guys and gals at this point know that Toyota is bringing the Supra back after many years of being away. The car is the result of a tie-up with Toyota and BMW. We’ve already seen much of what the Z4 will offer with its decent enough styling. Most are hoping for something more sporty looking from Toyota.
Today’s headlines include recent reports about both the policies and politics related to the health law’s implementation. Kaiser Health News: Tennessee Cuts Medicaid Benefit Funding For Some Long-Term Care PatientsReporting for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with The Washington Post, Guy Gugliotta writes: “In a unique experiment being watched nationally, Tennessee is revising its Medicaid long-term care options to make it harder for certain low-income elderly people to qualify for state-paid nursing home care” (Gugliotta, 7/29). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Gold Medal Mention For U.K. National Health Service; New Funds Could Shorten AIDS Drug Waiting ListsNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Lexie Verdon reports on how health care played into the Olympics’ opening ceremony: “The opening ceremony for the London Olympics Friday night was full of surprises: The ‘queen’ parachuting with James Bond into the Olympic stadium, an appearance by the evil Voldemort of Harry Potter fame. But maybe the most surprising for health wonks was the tribute to the National Health Service (NHS). That last salute came in a whimsical segment that organizers said honored ‘two of Britain’s greatest achievements: its amazing body of children’s literature and its National Health Service.’ It was part of the highly choreographed section of the program that explored British history and achievements” (Verdon, 7/29).Also on the blog, WABE’s Jim Burress, working in collaboration with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports on AIDS drug waiting lists: “The Obama administration announced nearly $80 million in grants to increase access to HIV/AIDS care across the United States last week – but will it be enough to eliminate waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program?” (Burress, 7/28). Check out what else is on the blog.Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend health policy headlines, including thoughts from Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court’s health law ruling (7/29).NPR: Affordable Care Act’s Insurance Rebates In The MailRobert Siegel talks with Julie Rovner about an immediate effect of the new health care law — rebate checks — how they vary, and why some insurers owe Americans money (Rovner and Siegel, 7/27).The Washington Post: Health Insurance Mandate Faces Huge Resistance In OklahomaThe Supreme Court may have declared that the government can order Americans to get health insurance, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to sign up. Nowhere is that more evident than Oklahoma, a conservative state with an independent streak and a disdain for the strong arm of government. The state cannot even get residents to comply with car insurance laws; roughly a quarter of the drivers here lack it, one of the highest rates in the country (Somashekhar, 7/29).Politico: GOP May Let Contraception Rule Take Effect Without A FightThis spring, Republicans were on a mission: repeal the Obama administration’s rule to require employers to cover birth control. House Speaker John Boehner even stood on the floor of the House in February and promised that Congress would act. “This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not stand,” Boehner said. But now, with the rule set to take effect Wednesday — part of the “Obamacare” law the GOP hates so much — the fiery repeal rhetoric has fizzled. In fact, few on Capitol Hill are saying anything about it at all (Haberkorn and Smith, 7/27).NPR: GOP Says Coverage For The Uninsured Is No Longer The PriorityFor decades, the primary goal of those who would fix the U.S. health system has been to help people without insurance get coverage. Now, it seems, all that may be changing. At least some top Republicans are trying to steer the health debate away from the problem of the uninsured. The shift in emphasis is a subtle one, but it’s noticeable (Rovner, 7/27).The Washington Post: Rep. Dave Camp Patiently Pursues Tax ReformThen there’s the politically explosive question of whether to generate extra cash to help rein in the national debt, as Democrats and bipartisan budget experts demand. Most Republicans are hostile to that idea, but Camp has shown some flexibility. Last fall, as a member of the deficit-reduction “supercommittee,” he entered talks with Baucus over a reform plan that would have raised $600 billion over 10 years in exchange for significant reductions in Social Security and Medicare spending (Montgomery, 7/28).Los Angeles Times: Annual Retainer Fee Buys Patients More Time With Their DoctorsFrustrated with a changing healthcare system that has resulted in longer work days and less time with patients, a growing number of doctors in California and across the nation are turning to a new type of practice — concierge medicine (Gorman, 7/29).The New York Times: Doctor Shortage Likely To Worsen With Health LawThe Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. Even without the health care law, the shortfall of doctors in 2025 would still exceed 100,000. Health experts, including many who support the law, say there is little that the government or the medical profession will be able to do to close the gap by 2014, when the law begins extending coverage to about 30 million Americans. It typically takes a decade to train a doctor (Lowrey and Pear, 7/28).The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics: White House Projects Larger Savings On Big-Ticket Items In New ReportBuried in the White House’s annual “mid-session review” budget update on Friday are some steep reductions in projected spending for some of the government’s largest expenditures — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on the debt. The White House on Friday updated its outlook for the U.S. economy, forecasting that the unemployment rate would be lower and deficits would be smaller than the Obama administration previously expected. The White House, however, lowered its projection for economic growth, saying it sees the U.S. economy growing 2.3% in 2012 and 2.7% in 2013. Previously, the White House expected growth of 2.7% in 2012 and 3% in 2013 (Paletta, 7/27).The New York Times: The Short Life And Lonely Death Of Sabrina SeeligShe arrived by ambulance at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, long regarded as one of the most troubled hospitals in the city, at 11:05 a.m. on May 30, 2007, conscious and alert but complaining of vomiting and dizziness. She was given a sedative that put her into a deep sleep, and her wrists were tied to the bed. None of her friends or relatives knew that she was there, and medical records show no measurements of her vital signs for hours that afternoon, suggesting that she was left unattended by the medical staff. By that evening she was brain damaged and on life support, with little hope of recovering. She died six days later (Hartocolis, 7/28).The Washington Post: Virginia Abortion Clinics Left Wondering If They Must Pay For New State RequirementsThe General Assembly voted last year to require the guidelines, which were quickly adopted by the state’s Board of Health. In a surprise move, the panel later exempted the state’s existing clinics. … But Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) refused to sign off on the board’s decision, arguing that it lacked the legal authority to exclude the operating clinics. Cuccinelli’s legal opinion has led to confusion — and uncertainty — among many of those who lead the state’s 22 clinics that perform abortions, because it’s unclear how the board would interpret his position (Kumar, 7/28).The Wall Street Journal: McKesson To Pay $151 Million To Settle Drug-Pricing McKesson, the nation’s largest drug wholesaler by revenue, deliberately drove up the prices of some 1,400 brand-name drugs from 2001 to 2009, state and federal officials alleged in a lawsuit. Prices for some widely used blockbuster drugs, like Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor or Eli Lilly & Co.’s Prozac, rose by as much as 25%, causing Medicaid programs to overpay by millions, state officials said (Martin,7/27).The Associated Press: 29 States Settle Medicaid Rx Drug Overpayment CaseCalifornia and 28 other states have reached a $151 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging one of the country’s largest drug wholesalers inflated prescription drug prices, costing the states’ Medicaid programs millions in overpayments. California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the settlement with San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. on Friday. In California, Harris says the overpayments went on from 2001 through 2009 (7/27).The Wall Street Journal: Court Backs Crackdown On Drug OfficialsA federal appeals court backed the Obama administration’s drive to levy greater punishments on pharmaceutical executives tied to corporate wrongdoing, saying the administration could effectively derail the executives’ careers by barring them from doing business with federal programs including Medicare (Kendall, 7/27).The Washington Post: Rebranding St. ElizabethsAfter nearly 30 years, four mayors, and countless proposals, the redevelopment of the District’s historic, now-shuttered St. Elizabeths mental health institution is finally underway. But District officials have identified one last hurdle to its transformation — and it’s strictly mental. Over the next few years, the city plans to work with developers to build an educational campus, housing, and retail on the eastern portion of the grounds. But after more than a century as a walled sanctuary for the likes of John Hinckley Jr. and the Mount Pleasant sniper, St. Elizabeths has something of an image problem (Shin, 7/28).Politico: Battling AIDS By Stepping Up Retention In CareTwo stubborn problems dog efforts to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States: how to find the HIV-positive people who are outside the health care system and how to keep HIV patients in treatment once they start (Norman, 7/29). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: June 30, 2012 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Minn. Exchange Will Add $3.16 Million For Repairs; Cover Oregon’s Problems Lead To Political Casualties News outlets report on developments regarding state online insurance marketplaces. Pioneer Press: MNsure To Pay Deloitte $3M More For Health Exchange RepairsMNsure plans to spend another $3.16 million for help from a New York-based consultant with fixes to its troubled information technology system. The state’s health insurance exchange agreed this spring to spend $4.95 million for assistance from Deloitte in assessing problems with the MNsure system plus help managing the project. Now, with the additional funds, Deloitte would help implement a plan to improve the MNsure website and related systems before most consumers start using it again on Nov. 15. The MNsure board voted Wednesday to authorize negotiations on the expanded contract, but Republicans criticized the decision because information on the proposed amendment wasn’t made public prior to the board’s meeting in St. Paul (Snowbeck, 7/30). The Oregonian: As Feds Probe Cover Oregon, State Has Approved Criminal Defense Costs For Five Former EmployeesFive former state officials have taken steps toward hiring criminal defense lawyers at state expense as federal investigators probe the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange fiasco. Triz delaRosa, Bruce Goldberg, Aaron Karjala, Rocky King and Carolyn Lawson have applied for legal coverage under a new state policy adopted as a result of the ongoing FBI investigation, according to documents obtained by The Oregonian. The policy pays up to $35,000 for the legal defense of a current or former state employee accused of a crime (Budnick, 7/30). The Oregonian: Among Political Casualties Of Cover Oregon Health Exchange Fiasco, Some Fared Better Than OthersSix state officials involved with the failed Cover Oregon health insurance exchange have resigned since December. But over the last seven months it’s become clear that some of the departed employees received a softer landing than others (Budnick, 7/30).
USA Today: Skyrocketing Drug Prices Leave Cures Out Of Reach For Some Patients Bloomberg: For Valeant’s Ailing Chief Executive, It Wouldn’t Pay To Leave And the Dementia Discovery Fund invests $100 million in a new avenue of Alzheimer’s research — A promising new avenue in Alzheimer’s research that focuses on the eradication of brain plaque by the immune system has become the first investment for a $100 million fund dedicated to delivering new dementia drugs within a decade. The Dementia Discovery Fund, set up last year with backing from the U.K. government and several of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, has led a $29.5 million investment round to back research under way at San Francisco-based Alector LLC. (Roland, 1/7) The Wall Street Journal: Dementia Discovery Fund Chooses Alector For First Investment This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Sophisticated drugs are opening the door, scientists say, to an era of “precision medicine.” They’re also ushering in an age of astronomical prices. Even with insurance, patients might pay thousands of dollars a month out of pocket. But patients aren’t the only ones paying. Taxpayers underwrite the cost of prescription drugs provided by Medicare, Medicaid and other public insurance programs. (Szabo, 1/6) If Michael Pearson leaves Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. now, it would be without a parachute. Two potential payouts would disappear should the drug company’s ailing chief executive resign for medical reasons. At the moment, he appears unlikely to return to work quickly, and on Wednesday the company appointed an interim leader. Pearson’s employment contract states that if he steps down for “good reason,” such as a demotion, he would be entitled to a $9 million cash severance. An exit for medical causes wouldn’t trigger the payout, according to the contract. (Melby and Weinberg, 1/7) High Drug Costs Make Some Cures, Precision Medicine Unaffordable For Many Patients In other news, Bloomberg reports that Valeant’s ailing CEO faces contractual and payout issues if he resigns for medical reasons.
Government officials tangled on Wednesday over who was to blame for the crisis in Flint, Michigan, that allowed lead-contaminated water to flow to thousands of residents at a combative congressional hearing that devolved into a partisan fight over witnesses and no-shows. “A failure of epic proportions,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the first Capitol Hill hearing since the crisis in Flint emerged last year. (Daly, 3/3) Ryan Urges GOP To Stop Over-Promising, Citing Health Law Repeal Attempts “We can’t promise that we can repeal Obamacare when a guy with the last name Obama is president,” the speaker said. In other news from Capitol Hill, a health law dispute could hold up the OPM director’s confirmation; lawmakers hold a hearing on the heath care service deficiencies reported on Indian reservations; and a congressional panel takes up the Flint water crisis. House Speaker Paul Ryan called on Republicans Wednesday to unify and stop fighting each other as he tried steering his fractious party into an election year devoid of the collisions between conservatives and pragmatists that transformed parts of 2015 into a GOP nightmare. “We have to be straight with each other and more importantly, we have to be straight with the American people,” Ryan, R-Wis., said at a Heritage Action for America policy meeting. “We can’t promise that we can repeal Obamacare when a guy with the last name Obama is president. All that does is set us up for failure and disappointment and recriminations.” (2/3) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Politico: Great Plains Indian Healthcare Is ‘Malpractice’ Says Sen. Barrasso The Associated Press: Ryan Calls For Unity, Less Anger From His Fractious GOP The Washington Post: Affordable Care Act Dispute Could Hang Up Confirmation Of New Federal Personnel Chief A long-simmering dispute over how the Obama administration applied the Affordable Care Act to members of Congress and some of their staff has been revived and could hang up the confirmation of a new federal personnel chief. In advance of the scheduled Thursday confirmation hearing for Beth Cobert to become Office of Personnel Management director, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) raised the prospect of putting a hold on her nomination. (Yoder, 2/4) Federal officials on Wednesday outlined a plan to improve care at hospitals that treat Native Americans in four Great Plains states, including creating a multi-agency group to focus on quality and patient safety and designating a single organization to accredit Indian Health Service hospitals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services detailed the steps ahead of a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday afternoon in Washington that’ll discuss the quality of care at IHS hospitals in the region. (2/3) The Associated Press: Flint Crisis Reaches Capitol Hill, And It’s A Blame Game Senate testimony Wednesday painted a grim picture of the poor healthcare afforded Great Plains Indians — caught in a federal system plagued by substandard medical facilities and persistent problems in attracting health professionals. Despite promised reforms, three Indian Health Service hospitals in the four-state region are listed as seriously deficient by inspectors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — leading to the sudden pre-Christmas closing of a critical emergency room facility in South Dakota. (Rogers, 2/3) The Associated Press: Feds Outline Reforms For Reservation Hospitals
Opposition Builds Over Proposed Tennessee Hospital Merger In other hospital-related news, Johns Hopkins will expand urgent care to cancer patients while other hospitals are improving patients’ access to world class cancer care by linking up with top-ranked oncology centers. Outlets also report on developments in Massachusetts and New Jersey. Boston Children’s Hospital is teaming up with General Electric Co. to produce software that will help doctors more accurately interpret brain scans of young patients. Under a deal set to be announced Monday, Children’s and Boston-based GE’s health care division will develop the system over the next 18 months, then market it to hospitals around the world. (Dayal McCluskey, 11/28) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Modern Healthcare: Opposition Builds In Mountain States, Wellmont Health Hospital Merger Modern Healthcare: Bringing World-Class Cancer Care Closer To Home Boston Globe: GE, Children’s Hospital Form Medical Software Venture Boston Globe: 3 Mass. Hospitals Faulted For Failing To Report Patient Deaths And Injuries Most cancer patients going through treatment struggle with pain, fevers and nausea, sometimes severe enough to send them to the emergency room. But the chaos of the emergency room and related stress are “an assault on your well-being,” said Richard Dean, who took his wife many times while she was battling ovarian cancer six years ago. He told Johns Hopkins Hospital officials they needed an urgent care center especially for cancer patients…Hopkins listened and, using some patient data crunching from Dean, who teaches engineering at Morgan State University, launched a cancer urgent care center in 2014 in space adjacent to where chemotherapy is delivered. The Hopkins center is open 12 hours a day during the week and plans to open on Saturdays starting in March. (Cohn, 11/25) The Philadelphia Inquirer: Cherry Hill’s First And Only Hospital Gets $250M Update Five years ago, if a cancer patient at Cooper University Health Care in Camden, N.J., had a complex case, the attending oncologist would review the medical literature and call colleagues to solicit input on the best course of treatment. Now physicians can present challenging cases to a tumor board made up of experts in that particular form of cancer who come from Cooper and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the nation’s top-ranked academic oncology centers. The two institutions formed the partnership in 2013. “It’s a very easy dialogue because we have this relationship,” said Dr. Generosa Grana, director of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. Cooper is among the growing number of hospital systems that are joining forces with renowned National Cancer Institute-designated centers such as MD Anderson based in Houston or Dana-Farber in Boston. (Whitman, 11/26) Cherry Hill was still called Delaware Township when plans for a “complete modern general hospital” at Chapel Avenue and Cooper Landing Road were announced in the late 1950s. Long since acquired and expanded by Kennedy Health, the community hospital that opened in 1961 is being transformed by a $250 million construction project and a pending merger with Philadelphia’s Jefferson Health. “There will be a total rebranding of this campus,” says Joseph W. Devine, president and CEO of Kennedy Health. (Riordan, 11/27) Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women’s, and UMass Memorial were among 17 hospitals inspected last December by the FDA. Regulators were concerned about infections possibly linked to contaminated instruments called duodenoscopes, used to examine the small intestine, and about the spread of uterine cancer when a surgical device called a power morcellator, which cuts up tissue, is used. Last month, the agency disclosed the inspection reports, showing that 15 of the 17 medical centers were either late in reporting cases in which patients were harmed by various devices or failed to report at all. (Kowalczyk, 11/27) The Federal Trade Commission and a cadre of prominent health economists are urging Tennessee officials to reject a potential merger between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System. The move comes a little more than a month after the FTC made its own plea to Virginia regulators. Mountain States and Wellmont, both headquartered in Tennessee, have been trying to combine their competing hospital systems for the past 18 months. The two not-for-profits own 19 hospitals in Virginia and Tennessee. A merged system would have about $2 billion of revenue. Mountain States and Wellmont have submitted applications for a certificate of public advantage (COPA) in Tennessee and Virginia, which would essentially allow them to skirt federal antitrust scrutiny in favor of state oversight. (Dickson, 11/26) The Baltimore Sun: Hopkins Expands Urgent Care To Cancer Patients
On The Defense, Pharma Lobbyists Say Lawmakers Need To Look At Big Picture When It Comes To High Prices News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing. Industry groups expect President Donald Trump to formally take on high drug prices at an event as soon as next week. It’s set to be the first time that Trump, who has railed against the high costs of prescription drugs since his 2016 presidential campaign and spoke on the issue after meeting industry executives last year, delivers a formal price policy address. The speech is set to coincide with a request for information from the Department of Health and Human Services about how to curb drug costs. (McIntire, 4/30) Several patient groups are lambasting the U.S. Trade Representative over its latest annual list that identifies and ranks countries based on a willingness to protect intellectual property, calling it “shameful” and “outrageous.” Known as the Special 301 Report, the yearly exercise is of great concern to drug makers, which regularly argue that some countries fail to sufficiently protect and enforce patent rights. By the same token, the list is also closely tracked by patient advocacy groups for clues into trade and patent policies that governments may adopt concerning access to medicines. (Silverman, 4/30) Business looked challenging for Novo Nordisk at the end of 2016. As pressure mounted over the pharma giant’s soaring insulin prices, investors drove its stock down by a third on fears that policymakers would take action, limit prices and hurt profits. Then things got worse. A Massachusetts law firm sued the company and two other pharma firms on behalf of patients, claiming that high insulin prices of hundreds of dollars a month forced diabetics to starve themselves to minimize their blood sugar while skimping on doses. At least five states began investigating insulin makers and their business partners. (Hancock and Lucas, 4/30) The emergence of genetics-based medicines is pushing the cost of treating certain diseases to new levels, forcing hospitals and health insurers to reckon with how to cover total costs per patient approaching a million dollars. The therapies deliver new genes or genetically altered cells to tackle some of the hardest-to-treat diseases, including in children. They come at a high price: Novartis AG listed its newly approved cell therapy for cancer at $475,000, while Gilead Sciences Inc. priced its rival drug at $373,000. (Rockoff, 4/26) Stat: Too Many Companies Are Making Copycat Immunotherapy Drugs The Wall Street Journal: Executive’s Fraud Trial Puts Valeant In Uncomfortable Light CQ HealthBeat: Health Groups Expect Trump Drug Price Speech Next Week The Wall Street Journal: The Million-Dollar Cancer Treatment: Who Will Pay? Drugmakers are trying to navigate a growing storm over high drug prices as President Trump prepares to unveil new actions on the issue. The drug industry has traditionally been able to beat back actions from Washington, notably escaping unscathed in the fight over ObamaCare. But the climate appears to be changing. (Sullivan, 5/2) CQ: Hospitals Fight Efforts To Curb Their Discounts On Drugs AbbVie has halted an early-stage clinical trial testing an experimental cancer drug acquired in its takeover of Stemcentrx, the latest apparent failure from a high-flying biotech company backed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel. The drug being tested, known as SC-007, is a type of antibody-drug conjugate, designed to home in on malignant cells while sparing healthy tissues. (Robbins, 4/30) The Hill: Drug Industry Faces Trump-Fueled Storm Over Prices There’s an overabundance of copycat drugs in the cancer immunotherapy space, with companies pouring millions into developing drugs that only add incremental value to patients. That was the general consensus from a panel of biotech experts who spoke Monday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles — a commingling of Wall Street titans, policy wonks, industry leaders, and Hollywood elites. While excitement around harnessing the immune system to attack cancer is justifiable, they said, the way in which company resources are allocated in the immunotherapy space is skewed. (Keshavan, 5/1) The headlines, spurred by Amazon’s entry into the pharmacy business, were as entertaining as they were exuberant. One hailed the company’s 1999 investment in Drugstore.com as “a likely gold mine.” In Canada, the Globe and Mail predicted a sea change in shopping habits, titling its story: “Farewell, Preparation H aisle.” Nearly 20 years later, shoppers are still awkwardly perusing that aisle and getting their prescription drugs from many of the same bricks-and-mortar pharmacies. Drugstore.com no longer exists and never recorded an annual profit. (Ross, 4/26) The Associated Press: Pfizer’s 1Q Profit Up 14 Pct., Sales Just Miss Expectations Some lawmakers are keen on pursuing changes to a program that allows hospitals to purchase drugs at a discount, even as political headwinds make it a difficult policy to tackle in an election year. Hospitals are fighting changes on multiple fronts. They worry that lawmakers might limit the discounts and are urging Congress to instead defend the program. The Trump administration already proposed last year to cut Medicare reimbursements for the discounted drugs, and hospitals are challenging that rule in court. That case, which was dismissed in December, might be a long shot. But on Friday, the hospitals will try again and seek to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the lower court should restore the old reimbursement rates. (Siddons, 4/30) Pfizer Inc.’s revenue was little changed in its latest quarter as the drug company shifts focus to a new generation of products and sorts out what to do with its over-the-counter medicines unit, which hasn’t attracted a buyer. In the quarter, rising sales of newer drugs including cancer treatments Ibrance and Xtandi and blood-thinner Eliquis offset falling revenue for longtime products such as male-impotence pill Viagra, which is facing lower-priced generic competition. (Rockoff and Lombardo, 5/1) Pfizer posted slightly higher sales and a 14 percent jump in profit in the first quarter, thanks to lower restructuring costs and a much-lower tax rate, but its revenue still missed Wall Street expectations. The maker of pain medicine Lyrica and the blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine against pneumococcal infections said Tuesday that net income was $3.56 billion, or 59 cents per share. That was up from $3.12 billion, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier, when there were more shares being publicly traded. (Johnson, 5/1) The fraud trial of a former executive at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. is set to begin this week in Manhattan federal court, the first criminal prosecution to emerge from multiple investigations into the embattled pharmaceutical giant over its sales practices. In this case, prosecutors say Valeant was the victim. Using a statute often applied to public corruption cases, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has accused the former Valeant executive, Gary Tanner, and a co-defendant, Andrew Davenport, of defrauding Valeant through an alleged multimillion-dollar kickback scheme involving Philidor Rx Services, a specialty mail-order pharmacy. (O’Brien, 5/1) More than 1,200 independent oncology clinics have either closed or been acquired by hospitals in the last decade, and oncologists blame the 340B program and Medicare Part B for the consolidation. The Community Oncology Association on Monday said that 423 individual clinics closed from 2008 to 2018, while 658 have been acquired by or entered into contracts with hospitals; 168 practices have merged or been acquired. Some clinics send their Medicare patients elsewhere for chemotherapy, an issue attributed to Medicare sequester-related cuts to Part B drug reimbursement.But the association also said the 340B program contributed to the shrinking oncology landscape. (Luthi, 4/30) Stat: Patient Groups Slam U.S. Trade Rep Report On Bad Patent Players The Wall Street Journal: Pfizer Revenue Growth Stalls As Company Mulls OTC Unit’s Future Stat: In Rebuke To Pharma, One-Fifth Of Bristol-Myers Shareholders Favor Proposal Tying Pricing Risks To Executive Pay In a message to the pharmaceutical industry, 22 percent of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) shareholders voted in favor of a proposal that requires the drug maker to compile reports about the risks created by high prices and examine the extent to which pricing strategies propel executive compensation. The vote, which is the first of several that shareholders in other drug companies will consider this spring, comes as concerns mount over rising prices, an issue that has put the entire industry on the defensive. For this reason, the outcome was seen as a key temperature reading of public sentiment. (Silverman, 5/1) Stat: Another Drug Acquired From Peter Thiel-Backed Biotech Appears To Flop Kaiser Health News: How A Drug Company Under Pressure For High Prices Ratchets Up Political Activity This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Frustrated by tepid sales and practical stumbling blocks, Regeneron and Sanofi are offering a huge discount on their treatment for bad cholesterol in exchange for a promise that health care’s biggest middleman will make it easier for patients to actually get the drug. Starting in July, the two companies will sell their cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent, which carries a $14,600 list price, at roughly 60 percent off to clients of Express Scripts, the nation’s biggest pharmacy benefit manager. In exchange, Express Scripts will make their drug the only cholesterol-lowering injection available to the 25 million patients on its formulary, freezing out a rival therapy from Amgen. (Garde, 5/1) Stat: Can Amazon’s Second Try Disrupt The Prescription Drug Market? Stat: Hoping To Boost Sales, Regeneron And Sanofi Slash Cholesterol Drug’s Price Modern Healthcare: Medicare Part B Payment Cuts, 340B Growth Blamed For Oncology Clinic Closures
Mercedes-Benz makes good on its previously announced $1 billion investment to bring electric vehicle manufacturing in the US – starting with breaking ground on a new battery factory in Alabama. more…The post Mercedes-Benz breaks ground on new battery factory for electric vehicles in the US appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward