The New York Giants had a new player for Monday night football: a stray cat! Their game with the Cowboys was delayed for upwards of 2 minutes while the black beauty scampered across the field (and into the end zone).

One employee of MetLife stadium said the cat is one of 300+ living there, but the stadium’s spokesperson says there are only just a handful. Either way, we’re surprised this catastrophe was a first… and hoping the little guy gets adopted soon (or at least a spot on the lineup for the Kitten Bowl).

Before you run, check out who scored and who punted in healthcare this week. 



There’s potential progress on one of the industry’s biggest scientific challenges: finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. China gave provisional approval for a new treatment for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. But the full trial data isn’t published yet and the theory behind the MOA has evolved. Meanwhile U.S. researchers found a woman with the “Alzheimer’s gene” who did not develop the disease in her 40’s, as would be expected. Figuring out why could lead to a new pathway for drug discovery. We’re keeping a close eye as these stories evolve.


Tired of waiting in line at the pharmacy? Flying in to a neighborhood near you: prescription drugs. CVS and UPS completed their first drone prescription delivery to consumers in Cary, North Carolina. This power partnership is the first delivery service to fly drones in residential areas and airdrop prescription medications to consumers, but there are others close on their heels. Google’s Alphabet has a partnership with Walgreens and FedEx testing a service in Virginia. No word on when either group will bring their pilots to the masses. 


WHO says improved housing conditions can save lives and prevent disease. That’s likely why we’re seeing a new trend: addressing homelessness to reduce long term healthcare costs. This week United Health announced it will pay for housing for the homeless in 30 markets by 2020. And, 14 of the nation’s largest health systems will invest $700M to address social determinants of health, including housing instability. Major metropolitan areas will likely be watching the impact of these programs. Nearly 60,000 people live on the streets of NYC.   


The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) sued Gilead, alleging that the company infringed on government patents on the preventative use of HIV treatment drugs – also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. Not only do opposing sides disagree on who rightfully holds the patent, activists say the fact that taxpayers funded the lion’s share of development means prices should be lower. Such a suit is a rare move by the government, but with its laser-focus on pricing and access, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.


We’ve been reminding you to get your flu shot. Now, some who did are facing some tough consequences. Ten people are hospitalized as a result of being accidentally injected with insulin instead of the flu vaccine. (Scary stat alert) According to the FDA, medication errors like this are not necessarily an anomaly  –  more than 100,000 U.S. reports of suspected medication error are made each year. Despite this news, we still have not changed our reco. It is estimated that 80,000 people died from the flu last year in the U.S. 

Boeing Better?

By Randi Kahn

It’s been a little over a year since the first crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Indonesia. In recent days, the Chairman of the Board for Boeing, Dave Calhoun, and the CEO of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg, have been making public appearances – in Congress, at the New York Times’ Dealbook event, and in media – trying to rebuild their reputation. They’re also deflecting calls for Muilenburg to step down and trying to restore trust from investors, customers and the public.

Has their new communications approach been good for their business? We’ll get to that in a moment. First, a refresher on their crisis response to date. Let’s take a look back at how all this started and some of the missteps.

A lack of proactive, accountable response exacerbated scrutiny

  • Three days after the deadly crash of the second 737 Max plane, Boeing placed the blame on pilots and announced it recommended the FAA ground its planes. This was after several other countries stopped using the planes.
  • A few days later, Muilenburg wrote an open letter to the aviation community, offering sympathy, but not an apology. In the statement, he tried to reinforce Boeing’s commitment to safety and promised a software upgrade.
  • In June, Muilenburg admitted the company made a “mistake” in not communicating an issue with a warning system in the plane.
  • Most concerning, as the situation unfolded, Boeing didn’t share some updates with its customers in the same cadence and with the same approach as with their other external stakeholders, leaving customers with lingering doubts.
  • In October, Muilenburg lost his job as Chairman of Boeing, but maintained his role as CEO.

What’s new?

  • This week, Muilenburg and Calhoun reframed how they’re talking about the crisis – leaning into empathy, providing concrete examples of how they plan to improve safety and restore trust, and underscoring Boeing’s values of safety, quality and integrity.  
  • Muilenburg took hits from policymakers and the media in stride, taking personal accountability for the problems and how they were handled. He pledged his commitment to staying the course and announced he’s giving up his bonus.
  • Calhoun had Muilenburg’s back, exuding confidence that he could handle the job, and that the separation of the CEO and Chairman role was so Muilenburg could focus on improving safety. He also explained how the board is now constantly engaging with safety experts.

Did it work?

  • While analysts are still not recommending Boeing, investors are reacting positively to the company’s approach and are still buying stock. Stocks typically go down when a CEO is removed so keeping Muilenburg at the helm may have made a difference.
  • It’s a bit too soon to say if airlines and the military will resume purchases of 737 Max planes. Boeing says changes to the 737 Max are still being made, and could take longer than a year –  leaving a lot of room for competitors to fly in.

Boeing still has a way to go to regain public trust. A poll conducted by npr in June found an overwhelming majority of consumers wouldn’t fly the Max. We’ll continue to watch this story to see if, however delayed, these more positive communications strategies can help turn things around for the plane – and company’s reputation.

Who wrote this? The managing editor of TWTW is Randi Kahn, who is looking forward to checking out the fall foliage this weekend. Syneos Health Communications' Reputation & Risk Management Practice is a team of healthcare communications consultants, policy-shapers and crisis response specialists. We provide unique solutions to the evolving communications challenges in today’s healthcare industry, using evidence-based approaches to help our clients successfully navigate the most sensitive of situations.

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Image credits: Alzheimer by Victoruler from the Noun Project, Drone by priyanka from the Noun Project, House by Guilherme Furtado from the Noun Project, Gavel by Scott Dunlap from the Noun Project, injection by NIXX Design from the Noun Project, Airplane by Viktor Vorobyev from the Noun Project

And now please enjoy this disclaimer that prevents our team from getting in a heap of trouble: This report may contain links to external or third party websites. These links are provided solely for your convenience. Links taken to other sites are done so at your own risk and Syneos Health accepts no liability for any linked sites or their content. Syneos Health makes no warranties or representations, express or implied about such linked websites, the third parties they are owned and operated by, the information contained on them or the suitability or quality of any of their products or services. Syneos Health does not authorize the infringement of any intellectual property rights contained in material offered through these linked sites. Please refer to the use agreement and/or copyright statements of any external site you visit, or the terms and conditions of any externally provided web site for instructions, restrictions, and guidelines. If you have a question, please contact the webmaster of the external site.

About the Author:

Randi Kahn is a Senior Media & Content Director in our Reputation & Risk Management Practice, where she helps clients build and protect their brand reputations through executive thought leadership, public affairs, and issues preparation and response. She has worked for clients throughout the healthcare ecosystem including payers, providers, patient groups and pharma.