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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

Making sense of Biden's big emissions promise

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's new U.S. emissions-cutting target is a sign of White House ambition and a number that distills the tough political and policy maneuvers needed to realize those aims.

Driving the news: This morning the White House unveiled a nonbinding goal under the Paris Agreement that calls for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.

Biden pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030

U.S. President Joe Biden seen in the Oval Office on April 15. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

The Biden administration is moving to address global warming by setting a new, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Why it matters: The new, non-binding target is about twice as ambitious as the previous U.S. target of a 26% to 28% cut by 2025, which was set during the Obama administration. White House officials described the goal as ambitious but achievable during a call with reporters Tuesday night.

3 hours ago - Health

Health care workers feel stress, burnout more than a year into the pandemic

Photo: Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, some 3 in 10 health care professionals say they've considered leaving the profession, citing burnout and stress, a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll out Thursday indicates.

Why it matters: Studies throughout the pandemic have indicated rising rates of depression and trauma among health care workers, group that is no longer seeing the same public displays of gratitude as during the onset of the pandemic.

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