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President Trump shakes hands with CEO of Pfizer, Ian Read. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The bully pulpit is not, in fact, putting much of a dent in drug prices. But it's at least providing an illusion of lower prices.

The intrigue: Pfizer said yesterday that after "an extensive conversation with President Trump," it would "defer" the price increases it imposed on July 1, "to give the president an opportunity to work on his blueprint."

  • Flashback: Trump criticized Pfizer after it announced midyear price hikes on about 40 drugs, including several generics. He praised the company yesterday.
  • Reality check: Pfizer is only deferring those price hikes, not canceling them. And it’s taking its products back to what they cost in June — a time when Trump was very much of the belief that the prices were too high.

California is getting some results from a new law that requires drugmakers to tell the government and insurance companies before it raises prices beyond a certain threshold.

  • Gilead, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Roche have each canceled or scaled back some of their planned price hikes, apparently in response to the new law, Bloomberg reports.
  • California’s law is only a disclosure requirement, not a hard limit on price hikes. But it's among the most aggressive disclosure requirements — which helps explain why the industry is suing to have it overturned, even while complying with it in the meantime.
  • Yes, but: "This is not going to change mainstream list price behavior at all," industry analyst Richard Evans told Bloomberg.

The bottom line: There’s a big difference between structural reforms and temporary rollbacks for one set of price increases.

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

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