Bristol-Myers Squibb raked in $1.5 billion of profit in the first quarter of 2018. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Seven of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies — AbbVie, Amgen, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Biogen — cumulatively collected $12.1 billion of profit in the first three months of 2018. That's up 29% from the same time last year.

The bottom line: Drug makers have not been shy about raising list prices on previously approved medications, despite President Trump's rhetoric about going after the industry.

Some highlights from those companies thus far:

  • Amgen CEO Bob Bradway said on an earnings call that his company will "work with Congress and the administration to advocate for policies that improve the affordability and access to important new medicines." Lobbying reports show Amgen has attempted to influence bills that would allow prescription drugs to be imported from other countries.
  • The Trump administration has made it clear it is focused on a handful of drug pricing issues, like Medicare Part B and the federal discount program for hospitals known as 340B. "I don't think they're new," Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said.
  • AbbVie's Humira treatment remains the lifeblood of the company, representing about 60% of its revenue.
  • Earnings still to come: Pfizer, Merck, Gilead Sciences, Novo Nordisk and Celgene report next week.

Go deeper

Media prepares to fact check debates in real time

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

From live blogs to video chyrons and tweets, media companies are introducing new ways to fact check the presidential debates in real time this year.

Between the lines: The debates themselves are likely to leave less room for live fact-checking from moderators than a traditional news interview would.

Life after Roe v. Wade

The future seems clear to both parties: The Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in the next few years, either gradually or in one fell swoop, and the abortion wars will move to a state-by-state battle over freedom and restrictions. 

What's new: Two of the leading activists on opposite sides of the abortion debate outlined for “Axios on HBO” the next frontiers in a post-Roe v. Wade world as the balance on the Supreme Court prepares to shift.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Jerome Powell, Trump's re-election MVP

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Getty Images photos: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP and Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket

President Trump trails Joe Biden in most polls, has generally lower approval ratings and is behind in trust on most issues. Yet polls consistently give him an edge on the economy, which remains a top priority among voters.

Why it matters: If Trump wins re-election, it will largely be because Americans see him as the force rallying a still-strong U.S. economy, a narrative girded by skyrocketing stock prices and consistently climbing U.S. home values — but the man behind booming U.S. asset prices is really Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.