Executives from 7 drug companies appear before the Senate. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Drug companies have cheered the Trump administration's proposed crackdown on industry middlemen, but some hedged this morning when asked whether that plan would cause them to lower their prices.

The big picture: Pharmaceutical executives have stayed firmly on message even amid some tough questioning from the Senate Finance Committee.

What they're saying: Several lawmakers have taken a tough tone against the 7 executives testifying this morning about drug prices.

  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), for example, said AbbVie "protects the exclusivity of Humira like Gollum with his ring."
  • The pharmaceutical executives in attendance responded with many of the industry's standard arguments, including broadsides against pharmacy benefit managers and the drug rebate system PBMs rely on.

Between the lines: The Trump administration has proposed eliminating those PBM rebates in Medicare and Medicaid, saying that will also translate into lower sticker prices. Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked the executives whether they would, in fact, lower prices as a result of the rebate proposal.

  • AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot and Merck CEO Ken Frazier both said their companies would lower drug prices if the rebate rule was applied to both the Medicare and commercial insurance markets. For now, it doesn't apply to commercial insurance.
  • Others said they similarly supported the rule, but hedged by saying costs would be lower for patients when they pick up the drug at the pharmacy — not necessarily that the health care system as a whole would be paying less.

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Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 12,772,755 — Total deaths: 566,036 — Total recoveries — 7,030,749Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 3,269,531 — Total deaths: 134,898 — Total recoveries: 995,576 — Total tested: 39,553,395Map.
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  4. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000.
  5. Public health: Trump's coronavirus testing czar says lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table" — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  6. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases

Data: Covid Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

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The big picture: The figure shatters both Florida's previous record of 11,458 new cases and the single-state record of 11,694 set by California last week, according to AP. It also surpasses New York's daily peak of 11,571 new cases in April, and comes just a day after Disney World reopened in Orlando.

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