Nov 2, 2017

Drug companies are on Team Amazon

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Richard Drew / AP

Pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers are terrified about the prospect of Amazon getting into their business. But pharmaceutical companies are all for it, CNBC reports. "I think the drug distribution channel also should be disrupted with improvements based on technology or efficiency," Allergan CEO Brent Saunders told analysts yesterday, according to CNBC. "It's an area rife with inefficiency and a lot of turf," another pharma CEO said in the report. "It's overly complicated; that's the opportunity."

Between the lines: Drug companies are especially frustrated with pharmacy benefit managers, which function as intermediaries between manufacturers and pharmacies. Pharma companies complain that PBMs mark up their products without disclosing those costs, and cutting into PBMs' slice of the pie is pharma's preferred solution to the controversy over high drug prices.

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post at the end of the month, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health