Drug companies sometimes directly pay patients to get their medication. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

Brand-name pharmaceutical companies occasionally send checks to commercially insured patients with the goal of getting those people to keep taking their high-priced drugs, Kaiser Health News reports.

Why it matters: The industry says this is simply a direct form of "patient assistance," which also includes things like copay coupons. However, critics see these practices as a form of kickback, and they're outlawed in Medicare and Medicaid because they induce people to stay on drugs that have seen staggering price increases.

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 21,243,513 — Total deaths: 766,488— Total recoveries: 13,272,162Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m ET: 5,314,814 — Total deaths: 168,462 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes.
  4. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  5. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  6. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Kamala Harris and the political rise of America's Indian community

Vice presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When Democrats next week formally nominate the daughter of an Indian immigrant to be vice president, it'll be perhaps the biggest leap yet in the Indian American community's rapid ascent into a powerful political force.

Why it matters: Indian Americans are one of the fastest-growing, wealthiest and most educated demographic groups in the U.S. Politicians work harder every year to woo them. And in Kamala Harris, they'll be represented in a major-party presidential campaign for the first time.

3 hours ago - Health

The cardiac threat coronavirus poses to athletes

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cardiologists are increasingly concerned that coronavirus infections could cause heart complications that lead to sudden cardiac death in athletes.

Why it matters: Even if just a tiny percentage of COVID-19 cases lead to major cardiac conditions, the sheer scope of the pandemic raises the risk for those who regularly conduct the toughest physical activity — including amateurs who might be less aware of the danger.