Dispensed: How retailers are beefing up their health ambitions, insights from Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing, and a looming shortage of OB-GYNs

Walmart's new health clinic has investors impressed.

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Walmart’s new health clinic has investors impressed.
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Courtesy Walmart

Hello,

Welcome to Dispensed, Business Insider’s weekly newsletter, in which we recap the stories that kept the healthcare team busy while we weren’t driving out to Pennsylvania (more on that later) or out on a marathon-training session.

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

First, continuing from last week’s coverage of Walmart Health, Walmart’s newest strategy in healthcare, we decided to take a step back and recap where all the retailers are at with this, from CVS Health to Kroger, and yes of course, Amazon.

jeff bezos amazon

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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Companies like Walmart, CVS, and Amazon are beefing up their healthcare strategies. Here are their plans to upend the $3.5 trillion industry.

Biotech unicorn Ginkgo Bioworks made headlines this week when the company raised $290 million, valuing the company at $4 billion, outlets reported Thursday. Erin Brodwin caught up with the team about their work with startup hub Y Combinator.

Ginkgo Bioworks wants to trade its ‘organism engineering’ expertise for equity in startups trying to disrupt a $5 trillion industry

  • This week, the startup hub Y Combinator and the company Ginkgo Bioworks unveiled a new partnership aimed at giving startups access to tools to make materials from living things.
  • Ginkgo was Y Combinator’s first biology investment and its first investment outside of traditional tech. The new deal gives startups that build with biology, otherwise known as synthetic biology startups, access to Ginkgo’s manufacturing platform.
  • In exchange, Ginkgo gets equity in the companies. Ginkgo expects them to work on applications as varied as novel materials, drugs, and meat substitutes.
  • “I’d like YC to be the largest incubator of syn-bio companies in the world,” Y Combinator partner Jared Friedman told Business Insider.

Emma Court, newly back from her adventures in Italy, read through opioid-maker Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing, which gave her a better picture of the business privately-held Purdue has been running.

In particular: Purdue’s business with pharmacy benefits managers Caremark and OptumRx.

Opioid maker Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing shines a rare light on a system criticized for raising US drug prices

Our editor Zach Tracer got his hands on the pitch deck a new healthcare startup used to raise its $2.5 million seed round.

The concept: Have your friends recommend doctors.

It reminds me a lot of my hometown’s Facebook group, where residents constantly are asking for recommendations for everything from dog groomers to specialty doctors (along with some questions that should definitely have just been taken to Google).

Here’s the pitch deck that the buzzy healthcare startup Voro used to raise a $2.5 million seed round led by an early Twitter investor

  • The startup Voro lets people ask their friends for doctor recommendations.
  • Over time, the startup wants to add more data on doctors to help people pick the right clinician.
  • Voro just raised $2.5 million in a seed round led by Floodgate.
  • Read on to see the full pitch deck that Voro used to raise the funds.

Clarrie Feinstein has the story this week on an alarming report from Doximity about the cities that are most at risk for having a shortage of doctors who practice obstetrics and gynecology.

These 10 cities are most at risk of an OB-GYN shortage, according to a troubling new study

  • A study published today by Doximity shows which cities will be most affected by a shortage of OB-GYNs in the US.
  • The study looks at the percentage of OB-GYNs nearing retirement age, the number of younger practicing OB-GYNs, and workloads for OB-GYNs, and created a comprehensive list of the top 10 cities likely to suffer the most from the shortages.
  • The top cities include Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Miami, Riverside, Calif., and Los Angeles.

In more of the health/fitness news world, this week I put up my first co-byline with my dad, and our first dispatch in prep of the TCS New York City Marathon.

Here’s a look at how we’re training for it at 26 and 56.

Today’s goal is the long run of the week. Wish me luck. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as we write more leading up to November 3.

In the meantime, for those of you who have run NYC before, what’s the one thing you wish you knew before embarking on all 26.2 miles?

You can tell me about it by reaching me at lramsey@businessinsider.com. News, tips, etc. can be sent to healthcare@businessinsider.com.

– Lydia