scorecardDispensed: Flawed science behind uBiome's products, 'unconscionable' tactics by an online directory of rehab facilities, and a tour of Oscar's swanky new digs
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Dispensed: Flawed science behind uBiome's products, 'unconscionable' tactics by an online directory of rehab facilities, and a tour of Oscar's swanky new digs

Dispensed: Flawed science behind uBiome's products, 'unconscionable' tactics by an online directory of rehab facilities, and a tour of Oscar's swanky new digs
LifeScience4 min read

Oscar office

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Health insurance startup Oscar recently moved into a new WeWork-designed new office.


Pharma reporter Emma Court here, subbing for Lydia Ramsey while she's out for her wedding (!) and honeymoon. Plan to hear from a rotating cast of our healthcare team while she's off on a well-deserved vacation. We've got big shoes to fill!

Here on our team, the big story this week is from Erin Brodwin, who reported that a key dataset behind poop-testing startup uBiome's biggest money-making test included data from minors and at least one non-human.

Now uBiome and the journal that published the data are looking into it. The whole thing raises new questions about the company's future, insiders and outside experts said. Erin has been working on this story since before her wedding last month (lots of wedding bells ringing lately on this team!), so be sure and give it a read.

uBiome insiders say key science at the buzzy startup was flawed from the start. Now, the company and a top science journal are investigating.

And I'd be remiss not to mention that this is the latest dispatch in a long line of hard-hitting uBiome reporting, which you can check out here. Definitely curious to see where the beleaguered startup goes from here.

In other healthcare news, my Business Insider orientation pal Benji Jones has a must-read story about why an online rehab directory published several web pages containing step-by-step guides on how to make drugs, including GHB, crack, and meth.

Industry experts told Benji they've seen similar web behavior before, and that it speaks to the extraordinary tactics used by some rehab centers to find people struggling with addiction - and the insurance dollars they bring with them.

'Unconscionable': Why an online directory of rehab facilities doubled as a recipe book for drugs like GHB, crack, and meth

Are you new to our newsletter? You can sign up for Dispensed here.

On the lighter side of things, Lydia recently got a tour of Oscar Health's new digs in New York City, which were designed by WeWork. The health insurance startup moved in in June.

About 600 employees work out of the pretty, plant-filled space, which used to be a warehouse used for printing. Come for the buzzy startup vibes, stay for the gorgeous photos by Business Insider's own Hollis Johnson.

Oscar office

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Oscar's new offices in New York City. Anyone know where I can buy this carpet? Kidding, kinda.

Inside the WeWork-designed offices of $3.2 billion startup Oscar Health, where kombucha is on tap and employees can work on a massive daybed

I'm especially jealous of Oscar employees getting kombucha on tap. Though having a daybed at work seems...dangerous. Naptime, anyone?

Speaking of Oscar, the startup had some major news this week: It's planning an expansion for the third year in a row. Our awesome fellow Clarrie Feinstein had the story:

$3.2 billion startup insurer Oscar Health just announced huge plans to sell Obamacare plans in a dozen new markets

And if you're just tuning in to the busy world of health insurance startups, Lydia has been all over that beat. Her latest story takes a look at the mixed bag of results that companies like Oscar and Bright Health have produced in the first half of this year.

Health insurance startups like Bright and Oscar have raked in $3 billion in venture funding. Here's how they fared through the first half of 2019.

Clarrie also took a little step onto the politics beat this week, with a great look at the big policy shift taking place among contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. Hint: it all comes down to the words "public-health crisis."

Read more about Democratic presidential candidates' new approach for tackling gun violence here.

We've also got a few more dispatches from our big list of 30 rising stars in healthcare, which came out earlier this month.

30 leaders in healthcare thumbnail 4x3

Iyah Romm and Toyin Ajayi; The Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation; Cleveland Clinic; One Medical; Tayrn Colbert/Business Insider

They told us their best book recommendations on leadership for young entrepreneurs. For a little sneak peek, it features such picks as a New York Times bestseller from Brené Brown and the classic "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."

The 29 best books on leadership for young entrepreneurs, according to 30 rising stars in healthcare

And a few final updates from our 30 rising stars list:

  • To our editor Zach's relief, I finally finished some mini-profiles from the list, like Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Aziz Nazha, a longtime computer lover who is betting that doctors who code could be the future of healthcare. "I think we have to face it: It's part of our work, whether we like it or not," Nazha told me.
  • I was also fascinated by this new effort to advance inclusive research at Swiss drug giant Roche's Genentech, which Genentech's Gerren Wilson kindly filled me in about.

That's all from me, folks! I'm headed off to my first-ever bike race this weekend, an 80 mile jaunt. Wish me luck! For my fellow cyclists, there are lots of great tips for a long ride here.

Thanks for reading.


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