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

Updated 36 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it's too early to say whether next month's elections will be postponed after she announced Tuesday four people had tested positive for COVID-19 after no local cases for 102 days.

Zoom in: NZ's most populous city, Auckland, has gone on lockdown for 72 hours and the rest of the country is under lesser restrictions.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 20,188,678 — Total deaths: 738,668 — Total recoveries: 12,452,126Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 5,138,850 — Total deaths: 164,480 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.

Voters cast ballots in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Vermont

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Primary elections are being held on Tuesday in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Vermont and Wisconsin.

The big picture: Georgia and Wisconsin both struggled to hold primaries during the coronavirus pandemic, but are doing so again — testing their voting systems ahead of the general election. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is facing a strong challenger as she fights for her political career. In Georgia, a Republican primary runoff pits a QAnon supporter against a hardline conservative.