Good morning... Here's a sign of the times: Sotheby's is about to hold its first-ever sneaker auction. The distance between popular culture and high culture keeps getting shorter and shorter.
So does this newsletter. It's 866 words today, a brisk 3-minute read.
It's that time, folks: Time to find out just how much money the health care industry made in the last quarter. And Axios' Bob Herman is, as always, on top of it.
The big question: Will Wall Street snap out of its health-care funk and remember that this industry is wildly profitable? Or do investors still have the jitters?
What we're watching: Insurers.
Most health care sectors are expected to increase earnings per share by at least 8% this year, although pharmaceuticals will come in at slower rates, according to FactSet estimates.
Go deeper: Follow along with our updated health care earnings tracker.
We tend to talk a lot about how the opioid epidemic has ravaged small towns and rural areas. And it certainly has done that. But over the past few years, the crisis has hit harder in big cities, and hardest in those big cities' suburbs.
Between the lines: Toward the beginning of the epidemic, when prescription painkillers were the primary driver of overdose deaths, the death rate was higher in rural areas than in cities or suburbs.
The first big criminal trial of this crisis is coming to a close, after attorneys offered their closing arguments yesterday in Oklahoma's case against Johnson & Johnson.
What's next: The outcome in Oklahoma will help other jurisdictions decide whether to pursue their own charges, and could help determine the appetite for a quick settlement in the massive civil case pending before an Ohio judge.
Machines may be better than humans at a critical part of the drug-discovery process — and billions of dollars are riding on their abilities.
Google's DeepMind recently "beat seasoned biologists at predicting the shapes of proteins, the basic building blocks of disease," Bloomberg reports. Startups, big biotech companies and venture capital firms are all starting to take notice.
Why it matters: AI gets thrown around a lot in health care, and a lot of it's empty hype, but some kind of machine learning could have real potential to make the drug-development process faster and remove some of the trial and error, experts told Bloomberg.
By the numbers: AI startups with a focus on biotech pulled in more than $1 billion from VCs last year, according to Bloomberg. That's 4 times more than VCs invested just 2 years earlier.
Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris are all talking health care this week. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Health care is the dominant issue right now in the Democratic primary, as most of the field continues to file through a weeklong AARP forum in Iowa.
Sen. Kamala Harris is releasing a drug-pricing plan today under which drugmakers' prices in the U.S. couldn't be any higher than the prices they're able to charge in other, similar countries.
Former Vice President Joe Biden resurrected a promise that got then-President Obama into quite a lot of trouble, promising yesterday that under his proposal for a public option, "If you like your health care plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it."
Sen. Bernie Sanders will lay out the case for Medicare for All in a speech tomorrow.
Have a great Wednes — oh, my, it's only Tuesday. Well, hang in there.