business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Axios reports that "Amazon subsidiary PillPack is paying $5.79 million to the U.S. and various states for fraudulently overbilling for insulin, according to a document filed this week with the Department of Justice …  As part of the settlement, PillPack … admitted and accepted responsibility for regularly giving patients a full carton of insulin pens rather than the appropriate amount - a practice that clearly exceeded the limits imposed by Medicare and Medicaid - and then falsely under-reporting it to avoid penalties."

•  Yahoo Finance reports that Mumbai-based "instant grocery startup" Zepto "has raised $200 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand its 10-minute delivery service to more cities in India and grow its network of dark stores."

Here's how the story describes Zepto's ascendency:

"At 19, Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra co-founded Zepto. The duo, who had previously worked on a number of projects, including a ride-hailing commute app for school kids, and dropped out of Stanford two years ago, took Zepto out of stealth mode in November last year.

"Its 10-minute delivery service is today operational in 11 cities across India and it processes hundreds of thousands of orders each day, Palicha, who serves as Zepto’s chief executive, told TechCrunch in an interview.

"The startup’s current annualized revenue is between $200 million to $400 million, he said, a figure he is determined to grow to 'at least $1 billion' by the quarter ending March next year.  The surge in revenue comes as the startup has consistently grown by over 50% each month in recent months, he said. In the most recent quarter, the startup grew its revenue by 800% while slashing its expenses per order by more than five times, he said."

•  The Information reports that "Netflix has long prided itself on giving managers the ability to pay what they see fit to attract and retain top talent. Now, as it grapples with stalled growth, it’s reining in that freewheeling practice.

"The streaming company is establishing a new hierarchy of internal seniority levels and associated pay as it is looking to better control costs, according to people with knowledge of the work. It is in the early stages of creating formal salary bands like those big entertainment companies widely use, starting with staff in technical roles and working its way through other positions over time, the people said."

Further explanation from The Information:

"During the yearslong boom in streaming subscribers, Netflix lured talent with large compensation packages that gave it an edge on hiring over other companies. But that approach can contribute to pay disparities that can become costly and controversial to fix, compensation consultants say.

"It also led to outsize and in some cases unpredictable costs. As recently as a few weeks ago, Netflix raised one product employee’s salary $100,000 to keep her from joining a competitor, said a person familiar with the discussions.

"The overhaul of Netflix’s compensation structure comes as the streaming giant is facing a slowdown in subscriber growth that has cast a cloud over its long-term growth."

I wonder if co-CEO Reed Hastings will have to edit and rewrite sections of its largely self-congratulatory book, "No Rules Rules."