Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Pharma was happy when President Trump first released his blueprint to lower drug prices, which mainly targeted industry middlemen, not drugmakers, and relied on private-sector competition, not direct government intervention.

But things have taken a turn.

  • First, the administration proposed requiring pharmaceutical companies to include drugs’ sticker prices in their TV ads. Industry says it’s a violation of the First Amendment, and there’s a real debate over whether that information would be very useful.
  • Next came a plan to base Medicare’s payments for certain drugs on the prices European countries pay — in other words, to piggyback off of single-payer or highly socialized health care systems. That’s a pretty big plot twist for a Republican administration.

Yes, but: Industry will have ample opportunities to kill both of these proposals, and both could end up having modest impacts even if they do end up happening.

The bottom line: Divided government probably won’t produce a grand bargain on drug pricing. The industry is still very powerful, and Congress' ideological differences are still real.

  • But pharma nevertheless will be on worse footing in January than it is today, and it’s on worse footing today than it was a year ago.
  • It’s increasingly at odds with what seemed like a friendly administration, and it’s losing some of the allies on Capitol Hill who could help fight Trump’s most dramatic plans.

Go deeper: Read the rest of Axios' Deep Dive on prescription drug prices

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 20,739,537 — Total deaths: 751,910— Total recoveries: 12,895,242Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,242,184 — Total deaths: 166,971 — Total recoveries: 1,755,225 — Total tests: 64,612,034Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

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Behind the scenes: How the Israel-UAE deal came together

Trump, Kushner and Netanyahu (L-R). Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

The breakthrough in talks between the U.S., Israel and UAE on a normalization deal came two months ago, White House officials tell me.

Behind the scenes: Talks had been ongoing for more than a year, but they gained new urgency ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's July 1 deadline to move ahead on West Bank annexations.