Alex Azar, President Trump's nominee to lead HHS. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are pressing Alex Azar on the cost of prescription drugs, as the Finance Committee weighs his nomination for Health and Human Services secretary. Sen. Ron Wyden, the committee’s top Democrat, noted that several Eli Lilly drugs saw steep price hikes while Azar ran the company, and asked whether he had ever lowered the price of a product.

“I don’t know that there is any drug price, of a branded product, that has ever gone down — from any company, on any drug, in the United States, because every incentive in this system is toward higher prices,” Azar said, arguing that he could help reshape that system because he knows it well.
  • Value-based contracting — in which drug companies are paid based on how well their products work — “can be vitally important, Azar said, but Medicare’s regulations can “get in the way.”
  • Asked about President Trump's past support for allowing Medicare to negotiate what it will pay for drugs, Azar said the program's prescription drug benefit already has sufficient bargaining tools. But he said he would be open to "looking at" extending those practices into the part of Medicare that covers drugs administered in a doctor's office.

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2 mins ago - World

U.S. rejects China's claims to territory in South China Sea

Photo: Artyom Ivanov\TASS via Getty Images

The State Department announced Monday that it rejects most of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, a first from the U.S. as the Trump administration toughens its approach toward Beijing.

Why it matters, via Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: This is a significant, if symbolic, step towards a tougher U.S. approach to China's attempted annexation of the open seas.

Los Angeles and San Diego public schools will be online only this fall

Alhambra Unified School District. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Public schools in Los Angeles and San Diego, the two largest public school districts in California, will not be sending children back to campuses next month and will instead administer online classes due to concerns over the ongoing threat of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The two districts, which together enroll about 825,000 students, are the largest in the country thus far to announce that they will not return to in-person learning in the fall, even as the Trump administration aggressively pushes for schools to do so.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 12,984,811 — Total deaths: 570,375 — Total recoveries — 7,154,492Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 3,327,388— Total deaths: 135,379 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for the foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Politics: Mick Mulvaney: "We still have a testing problem in this country."