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Charles Williams / Flickr Creative Commons

Drug spending increased 3.8% in 2016 for employers and health insurers that hired Express Scripts to manage drug costs for their commercially insured members, according to an annual report from the pharmacy benefits manager.

The big takeaway: Express Scripts cheered the findings as evidence their negotiations with drug companies and pharmacies kept drug spending lower than people might expect. The report is also being used as a way to push back against drug companies that have blamed pharmacy benefits managers for the drug pricing problems. "We don't do anything to set prices for the drug manufacturers. They do," Dr. Glen Stettin, chief innovation officer at Express Scripts, told Axios.

Yes, but: This report did not reveal anything about the rebates Express Scripts collects, nor did it touch Medicare drug spending. A recent federal government report showed that Medicare Part D rebates to middlemen were eating up a much larger chunk of total drug spending. Stettin said Express Scripts would release its own Medicare report soon, and it would disprove the "fallacy of rebates driving up the cost of medications."

Go deeper

Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.