Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

CVS Health pushed back today against Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's claims that pharmacy benefit managers are stopping drug companies from lowering their prices.

Why it matters: The political battle between drugmakers and PBMs, which act as middlemen in the supply chain, is fierce — and the Trump administration has singled out PBMs for most of its criticism. But CVS Health, one of the country's biggest PBMs, is trying to put the onus back on pharmaceutical companies.

The backstory: Members of the Senate health committee asked Azar recently about President Trump's promise that drugmakers were about to announce large, voluntary price cuts. Azar replied that some pharmaceutical companies want to cut their prices, but have faced resistance from PBMs.

What they're saying: "I was surprised to hear you say" that PBMs aren't cooperating, CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo said in a letter to Azar.

  • "We have not as part of the current dialogue or in any other circumstances instructed manufacturers not to lower list prices," Merlo said.

Go deeper: The first target on drug prices: pharmacy benefit managers

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks DOJ from defending Trump in Carroll rape defamation case

E. Jean Carroll in Warwick, New York. Photo: Eva Deitch for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed the Justice Department's attempted intervention on behalf of President Trump in writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit against him, after she accused him of raping her in a dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Catch up quick: The agency argued that Trump was "acting within the scope of his office" as president when he said in 2019 that Carroll was "lying" about her claim.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

Pre-bunking rises ahead of the 2020 election

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Tech platforms are no longer satisfied with debunking falsehoods — now they're starting to invest in efforts that preemptively show users accurate information to help them counter falsehoods later on.

Why it matters: Experts argue that pre-bunking can be a more effective strategy for combative misinformation than fact-checking. It's also a less polarizing way to address misinformation than trying to apply judgements to posts after they've been shared.