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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Johnson & Johnson has spent $900 million on litigation in the first half of this year, and that tally is only going to swell, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: J&J is fighting thousands of legal battles over the safety of its prescription drugs and medical devices — chipping away at public trust in a health care company that has become a household name, and threatening to strip billions of dollars out of its coffers.
Where it stands: A jury recently said J&J had to pay $8 billion to a man who claimed he got enlarged breasts from taking the company's antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
What we're watching: We'll likely know more about J&J's litigation costs when the company reports its third quarter earnings this week.
Yes, but: Investors have not fled J&J, because it is the most profitable health care company in the country, collecting almost $9.4 billion of profit in the first half of this year.
What they're saying: J&J submitted a statement that said its "reputation remains strong," and when it comes to its legal cases, "the facts in these cases are on our side."
The Trump administration's health care agenda suffered 2 more setbacks in court on Friday, Axios' Sam Baker writes.
A federal judge in New York blocked implementation of the administration's "public charge" rule, which would make it harder for immigrants to gain legal status if they're likely to rely on public programs — including Medicaid or subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.
Medicaid work requirements were also on thin ice, during a contentious hearing before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The bottom line: Nothing is final on either front. The D.C. Circuit hasn't ruled yet, and when it does, that ruling can be appealed up to the Supreme Court.
Go deeper: Trump's shrinking health care legacy
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The Kaiser Family Foundation's next tracking poll will show that most voters don't believe President Trump's promises of a forthcoming health care plan. KFF President Drew Altman offers a preview in his latest column.
By the numbers: 81% of Republicans are somewhat or very confident Trump will deliver on his health care promises.
Between the lines: Trump's argument that he'll protect Medicare — intended as a counterweight to "Medicare for All" — also isn't sticking, the poll found.
What's next: For now, this is all theoretical. But if the courts ultimately strike down the Affordable Care Act — as the Trump administration is urging them to do — then Trump will actually need a replacement.
Although opioid prescriptions in the U.S. have fallen, opioid overdose deaths — 47,000 in 2018 — remain at historic levels, Bryce Pardo and Beau Kilmer write for Axios Expert Voices.
The big picture: Inexpensive and widely available on the internet, fentanyl is attractive to dealers who make counterfeit prescription pills or mix it into heroin. Fentanyl, however, is extremely potent, leading more users to fatally overdose.
What's happening: So far, fentanyl deaths are largely concentrated in parts of Appalachia, the Mid-Atlantic and New England, with western states less exposed.
Between the lines: Fentanyl isn't attracting new drug users. Rather, it's an ingredient suppliers use to cut costs but most consumers seek to avoid.