California is the first U.S. state to ban four potentially harmful food and drink additives that are linked to disease. The California Food Safety Act now prohibits the use of brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye 3, commonly found in candies, fruit juices, and cookies. These substances are already banned in many countries.
Supporters of this law are reassuring consumers that popular products are not going to suddenly vanish from stores; rather, companies who use these ingredients are going to have to change their recipes to include healthier alternatives. The law will take effect in 2027, which will give the manufacturers time to reformulate their products.
There was a false claim that California aimed to ban Skittles. Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel clarified that Skittles with alternative ingredients are already sold in the European Union, where these additives are banned. The law doesn’t ban foods but requires companies to use safer alternatives.
Other countries, including the EU, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Japan, have banned these additives. Major brands like Coke, Pepsi, Dunkin’, and Panera have removed them from their products voluntarily.
Drug company Covica Rx has contracted with the state of California to create affordable insulin. Pending FDA approval, this 10-year, $50 million agreement will allow Civica to start making CalRx insulin in late 2023.
People with Type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin, and they rely on manufactured insulin in order to survive. Currently, insulin can cost up to $300 for a 10 milliliter vial. But insulin produced by Civica for the state of California will cost no more than $30 per 10 milliliter vial, even for the uninsured. This will save patients who pay out of pocket up to $4,000 a year.
This arrangement is part of California’s CalRx initiative which aims to reduce the cost of medications by producing generic drugs under the state’s own label.
Civica will be producing three types of insulin, glargine, lisprom and aspart, which will all be the equivalent of the insulin produced by the major drug companies. Although California has initiated this project, the medicines will be available all across the country.
The production of affordable insulin is a game changer for Americans with diabetes. NPR.com reported that 1 out of 6 Americans living with diabetes ration their supply of insulin due to the high cost of the drug. University of California College of Law professor Robin Feldman called this an “extraordinary move in the pharmaceutical industry, not just for insulin but potentially for all kinds of drugs.”
Several pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and Sanofi have announced that they will also be cutting the cost of insulin in the upcoming year.
Every year, student entrepreneurs at the University of Southern California, Zachary Dell’s alma mater, have an opportunity to showcase their startup and business ideas. This year, the 14th Annual USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase was held on Zoom due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ten finalist teams competed for over $30,000 in cash prizes and other valuable awards. There were six winning teams and two of them, WaterShield and DYME, were awarded cash prizes of over $10,000.
WaterShield has conceptualized a unique medical device for cancer patients that provides a central venous catheter with a moisture barrier, increasing comfort and decreasing the chance of infection when patients shower. The team, led by second-year biomedical engineering Ph.D. student Farbod Amirghasemi, earned the $10,000 USC Stevens Transformational Innovation Award at the conference held at USC, where Zach Dell attended college. WaterShield also won the in-kind Pillsbury Mentorship Award, valuing at over $15,000, and offering strategic counseling and patent services.
The Best Business Concept Award is a $10,000 prize and was presented to DYME, a startup created by George Pappas, a recent graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business. DYME is a platform where college athletes can monetize their media through experiential media content for paying sports fans. Additional cash prizes and in-kind awards were given to four other teams at the special annual event at University of Southern California, Zachary Dell’s alma mater.
Use technology to maintain contact with clients. Video platforms should be utilized as much as possible to offer a face-to-face personal interaction. While working remotely may mean that things are a bit more casual, it is important to keep things professional.
The need to maintain decorum and professionalism notwithstanding, it is also important to be genuine with clients. They want to know that their money is in good hands, but they also want to have a sincere conversation about life. Start and end every conversation with a client by discussing their wellbeing. Ask how they are managing and feeling. Give them the assurance they need. Show them that you care about their physical, mental, and financial health.
When things are uncertain it is tempting to switch to preservation mode. We have a fiduciary responsibility to do our best for those who are already clients; we may not have the bandwidth to grow our business. But as we focus on the clients we have, we should also maintain business contacts and relationships that can help our business in the future. Look for opportunities in various sectors and actively pursue leads.
Clients are worried about a lot of things right now. It is the job of financial planners and economic advisors to ensure that money is not an additional concern. The current health concerns coupled with economic uncertainties present people with two extremely basic fears: being alone and broke. Now is not the time to overwhelm clients with statistics and trends. Listen closely to what the clients are saying and what they feel most comfortable with at this time. This is unchartered territory for everyone. Every individual, business owner, team leader, and industry specialist is figuring out how to navigate these uncertain times. In the money management field, being attentive, genuine, forthcoming, and caring is the best business practice right now.
Novartis has agreed to pay $85 per share for The Medicines Company, which developed a new drug to fight against high cholesterol levels in people. The $9.7 billion cash deal acquiring the US drug maker is a bet that Inclisiran, is a “potentially transformational medicine.” There are millions of patients all over the world whose risk of cardiovascular disease is increased because of high levels of cholesterol in their blood.
“We believe that Inclisiran could contribute significantly to improved patient outcomes and help healthcare systems address the leading global cause of death,” Novartis chief executive Vas Narsimhan said.
Swiss-based Novartis has a market value of $203 billion. It has been growing recently in a similar way to many other big pharma companies, via disposals and takeovers.
The Medicines Company presented the results of a successful trial of Inclisiran, which lowers cholesterol in a unique way. Through the use of injections administered every few months, the drug lowers the production of “bad cholesterol” by inhibiting a protein that controls its production. This gene-silencing method of therapy is known as RNA interference, and although it has been around for decades, drugs using this methodology of treatment have been improving in recent years.