Good morning, and happy Friday.
Today's word count is 926, or ~3 minutes.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Drug pricing regulations would not decimate the pharmaceutical industry, according to an analysis from health policy researchers at West Health and Johns Hopkins.
Why it matters: This throws some cold water on Big Pharma's claims that new drug research and investments would evaporate if the federal government limits what they can charge for medications — the proposal du jour in Congress and the White House, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Details: The report from West Health, a policy group funded by telecom moguls Mary and Gary West, found that drug companies have the highest profits of any industry when calculated as a "return on invested capital." And those profits would still be among the top if drug sales were reduced through federal negotiations or price caps.
Yes, but: Some economists and analysts criticized the report's methods — for example, focusing on publicly traded drug companies while leaving out smaller, failed drug firms could skew profitability.
PhRMA, the industry's primary lobbying group, said the authors are "naive" to claim drug pricing regulations "would not have a devastating impact on research and development," and that "excluding smaller biotech companies from the analysis demonstrates a rudimentary understanding of the drug development process."
Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images
Apple will remove all 181 vaping-related apps from its mobile App Store this morning, sources tell Axios' Ina Fried and Mike Allen.
Apple said in a statement to Axios: "Recently, experts ranging from the CDC to the American Heart Association have attributed a variety of lung injuries and fatalities to e-cigarette and vaping products, going so far as to call the spread of these devices a public health crisis and a youth epidemic. We agree."
President Trump plans to announce his transparency rules for hospitals and insurers today in a Roosevelt Room event, Politico reported yesterday.
Why it matters: Advocates of requiring hospitals and insurers to disclose negotiated rates say that it'll help patients shop for health care, which could in turn lower prices through enhanced competition.
The other side: Hospitals and insurers hate the proposal and say it could lead to higher costs, as providers receiving lower payments from insurers would then demand higher rates once they find out what their competitors are making.
Flashback: It was only two weeks ago that the administration punted on the hospital transparency rule; today's high-profile event may explain why.
Cigarette smoking among U.S. adults reached an all-time low in 2018 at nearly 14%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported yesterday, a decline of roughly 66% over the last 50 years.
Between the lines: Smoking cigarettes remains deadlier than vaping, despite the spotlight on the 2,000-plus cases and dozens of deaths associated with e-cigarette lung injuries this year, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Sens. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris — who are all running for president — are announcing legislation today that would create an independent agency to determine list prices of prescription drugs.
Why it matters: This is further mainstreaming of Democrats' leftward shift on drug prices.
Apple yesterday released an app for iPhone and Apple Watch users to participate in three longitudinal health data studies, Marisa reports.
The big picture: Apple is just one of several Silicon Valley companies investing in health tech and transforming the future use of health data. Clinical trials via phone could increase participation rates, compared to traditional in-person studies.
The voluntary studies:
Yes, but, per NYT: Data from iPhone and Apple Watch owners is an unrepresentative sample of society.