Health Care & Life Sciences

Ex-WellPoint VP sues, says he was axed for testifying in drug caseRestricted Content

August 18, 2008
J.K. Wall

WellPoint Inc. prides itself on working to hold down the rising cost of health care. But to hear one of its former vice presidents tell it, the company retaliated against him when he worked to do just that. In a lawsuit against WellPoint, Dr. Randy Axelrod claims his former employer forced him out when he tried to curtail a drugmaker's controversial pricing strategy that was costing WellPoint money.


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Lilly taps hedge fund to cut research costs for Alzheimer's drugsRestricted Content

August 11, 2008
J.K. Wall

Eli Lilly and Co.'s unorthodox efforts to develop new treatments for Alzheimer's disease--if successful--could usher in a new approach to drug development. The Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company announced that a New York hedge fund, TPG-Axon Capital, will invest up to $325 million to help cover the exorbitant development costs of two experimental compounds to treat Alzheimer's disease.

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WellPoint expected to look for growth overseasRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
J.K. Wall
WellPoint Inc., the most dominant health insurer in the United States, registers as barely a pipsqueak in the rest of the world. But it's only a matter of time, say industry experts, before WellPoint plunges into foreign markets to grow sales of its health benefits and services.
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New president shakes up nursing home group: Three quarters of staff leaves within months of arrivalRestricted Content

July 21, 2008
J.K. Wall
Steve Smith has shaken up the Indiana Health Care Association so much, the group representing Indiana's for-profit nursing homes is hardly recognizable to those who knew it before. And the way Smith tells it, he's just getting started.
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Dry cleaner's fight against sons' rare disease could lead to other life-saving treatmentsRestricted Content

July 21, 2008
Anthony Schoettle
Nathan's Battle Foundation, led by Phil Milto--who has two sons afflicted with the disease--has evolved over 10 years into what Milto calls a not-for-profit biotech company that has raised money and guided research that resulted in a promising treatment for Batten disease. Now, some of the gene therapy techniques researchers developed are being applied to other disorders.
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Community Health CEO Corley preparing for 'something different'Restricted Content

June 16, 2008
J.K. Wall
This month, 65-year-old Bill Corley gave his 18 months' notice that he will be retiring as CEO of Community Health Network, the third-largest hospital network based in Indianapolis. Perhaps Community's board of directors needed so much time to replace a man who has held his post so long-nearly 25 years. When Corley arrived in 1984, Community consisted of just one hospital on Indianapolis' east side. Today, it has five.
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WellPoint 401(k) participants sue over decline in stock priceRestricted Content

June 9, 2008
J.K. Wall
Angela Braly, Wayne DeVeydt and the rest of the top brass at WellPoint Inc. face wrath over the company's recent stock swoon from a new group: ex-employees. Four former WellPoint workers have filed lawsuits against the Indianapolis-based health insurance giant over the losses its 401(k) retirement plan suffered in March when the company slashed its profit forecast for the year.
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Clarian blazes trail with transplants, but some question its zealRestricted Content

May 19, 2008
J.K. Wall
Clarian Health this decade has transformed its transplant program into one of the busiest in the country. Its team of surgeons takes calls around the clock if a viable organ becomes available. They will hop on a charter plane to check out an organ other doctors don't want.
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Hospitals are mixed bag for rural economiesRestricted Content

May 12, 2008
J.K. Wall
Around Indiana, hospitals continue to grow and add workers, increasing their role as an economic driver to the state's economy. But health care reformers say hospital growth has a double edge, as higher health care costs dampen growth prospects for other Indiana employers and their workers.
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Health network leading charge for electronic patient recordsRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
J.K. Wall
Four years after its launch, the Indiana Health Information Exchange is laying the groundwork to take its game outside state borders. The Indianapolis-based not-for-profit offers a service that provides patient records and test results via computer to hospitals and doctors around central Indiana. But now, its leaders think they can take their expertise to other cities and help them develop their own health information exchanges.
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Startup NICO Corp. hopes to commercialize brain surgery deviceRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Economists call it a "virtuous cycle" when successful entrepreneurs plow their gains into new businesses. Jim Pearson calls it another day on the job. The former Suros Surgical Systems Inc. CEO is attempting to repeat what he already has done: Build a company to bring a promising medical device all the way from the drawing board to the market.
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Janitors want Lilly, WellPoint to push for better health benefitsRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
J.K. Wall
Service Employees International Union Local 3 is backing local janitors as they restart contract negotiations April 16 with five of the largest janitorial contractors in Indianapolis. SEIU now is taking direct aim at Lilly, health insurer WellPoint Inc. and even some local hospitals, hoping they will pressure the janitorial contractors to come to terms.
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Anthem increases its hold on IndianaRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
J.K. Wall
Anthem Insurance Co. added nearly 75,000 commercial customers last year, pushing its total up more than 4 percent. Anthem, a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., now claims a whopping 1.8 million commercial customers in the state. The trouble is, Anthem's dominance limits price competition, according to benefits brokers, making it hard for local HMOs such as M-Plan or even some national players to compete.
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Rooney: healer or heretic in health insurance industry?Restricted Content

March 17, 2008
J.K. Wall
The "father of health savings accounts" isn't satisfied. At 80, J. Patrick Rooney is gearing up for another health care reform battle in Washington--five years after winning a colossal victory when Congress awarded health savings accounts tax-free status.
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Clarian buys piece of Indiana Heart HospitalRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
J.K. Wall
Clarian Health has acquired a controlling stake in a cardiology practice based at the Indiana Heart Hospital, which is owned by Clarian competitor Community Health Network.
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Report sees jackpot with BioCrossroads, but expert sees obstaclesRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
J.K. Wall
Three months after launching an initiative to boost drug-development firms in Indiana, officials at BioCrossroads have written a report that attempts to show in detail the vast market opportunity they see.
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Lilly expects FDA approval of long-acting version of ZyprexaRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
J.K. Wall
Eli Lilly and Co. hopes to extend the life of its best-seller Zyprexa with a potentially lucrative, long-acting form of the antipsychotic drug. But first, the Indianapolis-based drugmaker must win over a panel of medical experts convened by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 6.
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Taurel passes the batonRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
J.K. Wall
A new leader will guide the city's largest company in 2008, with some of the biggest challenges in its history on the horizon. Eli Lilly and Co. announced Dec. 18 that CEO Sidney Taurel will step down March 31 and will be replaced by President John C. Lechleiter, who has been the heir apparent for more than two years.
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Braly gains prestige--fastRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
J.K. Wall
At the beginning of 2007, few people outside WellPoint Inc. had even heard of Angela Braly. Nine months later, Fortune magazine named her the fourth most powerful woman in business.
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New Lilly CEO called analytical, 'incredibly warm'Restricted Content

December 24, 2007
J.K. Wall
John C. Lechleiter, whom Eli Lilly and Co.'s board voted to replace Sidney Taurel as CEO, is known for getting things done and yet also for being good at analysis and relating to people under him. Taurel will step down at the end of March but remain chairman until the end of 2008.
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Lilly's plan to outsource more work is good news, bad newsRestricted Content

December 17, 2007
J.K. Wall
Eli Lilly and Co. will shrink itself with "great intensity" over the next few years, in part by outsourcing. For other local life sciences firms, that's a fat pitch for new business. But it's not clear if non-Lilly firms can grow fast enough to offset the jobs and wages Indianapolis will lose from Lilly.
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Clarian hospitals in Avon, Carmel turn corner after big lossesRestricted Content

December 10, 2007
J.K. Wall
Clarian Health officials say the only way they can keep operating their medical centers downtown is to support them with profitable suburban hospitals. So far, it seems Clarian is on the right track. As Clarian moves forward with a new, $180 million hospital in Fishers, its two existing suburban hospitals are starting to make money.
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WellPoint broadens push to improve healthRestricted Content

December 3, 2007
J.K. Wall
WellPoint, Indiana's largest health insurer, is making more noise than ever about what it's doing to help improve Hoosiers' and Americans' health.
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Lilly under gun to replace aging blockbuster ZyprexaRestricted Content

November 5, 2007
J.K. Wall
There's a $2 billion hole in Eli Lilly and Co.'s future. That's roughly how much pretax profit Lilly derives each year from its best-seller, Zyprexa, according to calculations by IBJ. And it's how much black ink will start running off Lilly's books once Zyprexa's U.S. and European patents expire in 2011.
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Angie's List CEO wanted shot at WellPoint's Zagat dealRestricted Content

October 29, 2007
J.K. Wall
WellPoint Inc. and Angie's List are both racing to launch doctor-rating services early next year. But Angie's List is already sour over Well-Point's decision to partner with New York-based Zagat Survey LLC for its doctor-rating service, apparently without talking to Angie's List.
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  1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

  2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

  3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

  4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

  5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).

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