May 6, 2018

Big Pharma set to spend big in drug prices fight

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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President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.