HHS Secretary Alex Azar while President Trump looks on. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

Drug companies spent $171.5 million lobbying Congress and the federal government last year, the most of any industry, reports The New York Times, per data by the Center for Responsive Politics. The companies and their allied trade groups also deployed 882 lobbyists last year, two-thirds of whom had previously worked for Congress or the federal government.

Why it matters: This spending could be a harbinger for a concerted industry effort to derail a plan by the Trump administration to crack down on soaring drug prices. As Axios' Bob Herman recently reported, pharmaceutical companies have hiked the prices of hundreds of drugs at rates that significantly outstrip inflation since President Trump came into office.

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Amy Harder, author of Generate
34 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes.

  • A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."