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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Climate change is going to make us sick. We’ll need prescription drugs to get better. And that’s a business opportunity the pharmaceutical industry is starting to prepare for.

Between the lines: Those companies either declined to estimate the financial impact this increased demand would have, or said it would be minor. Several highlighted partnerships to make certain life-saving drugs available at reduced prices, especially in developing countries.

Driving the news: A non-profit organization called CDP asks companies to identify “risks and opportunities” they’ll face because of climate change, and grades them on their preparations.

  • Big pharmaceutical companies foresee similar risks — including physical damage to their facilities, supply-chain disruptions from increasingly powerful storms, and higher costs stemming from new energy regulations.
  • They also identified a consistent opportunity: More demand for drugs, thanks to the health effects of climate change.

What they’re saying:

  • AbbVie: “Climate change may create a greater need for existing or even new products … higher temperatures and drought conditions are becoming extreme … Our immunology product line could see an increase in sales as a result.”
  • Eli Lilly: “These risks may drive an increased demand for ... our diabetes products.”
  • Merck: “As the climate changes, there will be expanded markets for products for tropical and weather related diseases including water borne illness.”
  • Pfizer: “There could be an increased demand for products related to diseases impacted by climate change.”

The big picture: They’re right. The various effects of climate change — hotter temperatures, severe weather and dirtier air, among them — are expected to exacerbate a host of health problems. including infectious diseases, asthma and other respiratory diseases. And those are ailments we treat with drugs.

Go deeper

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, California, was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The latest: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, continued to threaten communities in Plumas County into Thursday night, as more mandatory evacuation orders were issued in the region.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top labor leader Richard Trumka dies unexpectedly at 72

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who led the largest federation of unions in the country for over a decade, has died at 72.

The big picture: Trumka began working as a coal miner in 1968 and would go on to dedicate his life to the labor movement, including as president of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO beginning in 2009.

Biden signs bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to officers who responded to Jan. 6 attack

President Biden, joined by Vice President Harris, lawmakers and members of law enforcement and their families, signs legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to law enforcement in the Rose Garden. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden signed legislation awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress' "highest expression of national appreciation," notes the New York Times.