Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photos: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images and Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Neither Congress nor the Trump administration is likely to get much done this year on drug prices, despite the clear political upside to doing so.

Between the lines: Polls consistently show that drug prices are a top concern for voters. President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also seem to agree a lot on the policy. But a deal keeps getting further away.

Where it stands: The House is set to vote on Pelosi's bill next week, though if push ever comes to shove, she has a small and diminishing incentive to help Trump claim a big victory right before his reelection campaign.

  • The White House has thrown its weight behind a bipartisan bill in the Senate, but leadership has never been particularly warm to that effort, and rank-and-file Republicans have also backed away from parts of the plan.

The big picture: The pharmaceutical industry almost always gets its way in Washington.

  • The industry's top two trade organizations, together, spent more than $35 million on lobbying in 2018, more than they've ever spent before.
  • That doesn't include individual companies' contributions, nor does it include any of the industry's campaign contributions, which are substantial.

Trump's regulatory agenda on drug prices isn't faring much better. The administration has abandoned several of its ideas.

  • It's now working on a proposal to tie Medicare's payments to the prices European countries pay, but Trump would probably need a second term in order to see that one through.

And prices keep going up. The most expensive drug in the world — a gene replacement therapy that treats spinal muscular atrophy — came to market earlier this year, with a sticker price of $2.1 million in the U.S.

  • That drug is a groundbreaking new therapy, but prices also continue to rise for old, familiar products that people depend on every day — most notably, insulin.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Deadly storm Zeta pummels parts of Alabama and Florida

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Former Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm's powerful winds and heavy rainfall moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," Zeta weakened to a tropical storm over central Alabama early on Thursday, per the National Hurricane Center.

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.