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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

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.