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Enbrel, Pfizer's blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug, appeared to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, but the company didn't investigate further or make the connection public, WashPost reports.

Details: The pattern was found through analyzing insurance claims. Company researchers urged a clinical trial, which they estimated would have cost $80 million, to see if the link was real.

  • But Pfizer decided that Enbrel doesn't have the potential to prevent Alzheimer's because it doesn't affect brain tissue.

Pfizer says the decision not to conduct a clinical trial was based solely on science, and it didn't publish its data because it was skeptical about the results.

  • But critics say there may be financial element: Enbrel has reached the end of its patent, reducing the incentive to look for additional uses for the drug as generics enter the market.
  • One former Pfizer executive told the Post that spending money on a clinical trial when the company had doubts about the results of its initial analysis didn't make much business sense.

Some scientists say that just publishing the data could have been useful to researchers.

Go deeper: The outlook for Alzheimer's research keeps getting bleaker

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.