Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The pharmaceutical industry is under fire in the public eye, in Congress and in the courts. And it mostly brought this on itself — through price hikes, allegedly anticompetitive behavior and aggressive opioid marketing.

The big picture: There's a real debate to be had about the value of new, innovative, sometimes life-saving drugs. But the industry has clouded its own argument, and weakened its own political standing, through a slew of bad behavior.

Driving the news: New, scientifically advanced therapies come with eye-popping prices. One product may be about to come to market with a $2 million price tag. But it's also a medical breakthrough, curing a disease that often kills babies before their second birthday.

  • While the industry argues those treatments are worth the cost, its critics point to a series of price hikes on products that have been around for decades — like insulin and the EpiPen.

Other business practices are also under scrutiny.

  • Congress is considering changes to patent law, saying brand-name manufacturers "game" the system to unfairly keep generics at bay. Brands also deny generics the product samples they need to create their products, critics argue.
  • Legal settlements that keep generics off the market are under the microscope.
  • 20 generic drug companies were recently sued for allegedly colluding to either maintain drug prices or raise them by as much as 1,000%.

At the same time, drugmakers including Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson are facing high-profile, multi-billion-dollar lawsuits over their roles in the opioid crisis.

“There’s a lot of money in health care and...the rules are sufficiently vague, and the opportunities are sufficiently great, that I think a lot of people are willing to take what appears to them as minimal risk for a potentially big payoff," the American Enterprise Institute's Joe Antos said.

The other side: Pharma argues that some controversial behaviors — like the steady increase in prices — are a result of drug middlemen's practices, and that they're necessary to fund the research that will lead to more breakthrough therapies.

  • "Is this industry more prone to fraud, or is it just more scrutinized?" former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb asked.
  • "Most people working in the pharmaceutical industry are there to help improve patient lives. However, we have built a system where gaming is possible, partly due to a lack of transparency," said Vanderbilt's Stacie Dusetzina.
  • Holly Campbell, a spokeswoman for PhRMA — the main trade group representing the industry — pointed out that drug price growth has slowed down in recent years, and that as deductibles and other forms of cost sharing rise rise, patients end up shouldering more of the cost of their medicines.
  • With the rise of science that "would have been considered science fiction ten years ago," the industry is "advocating for new ways to pay for medicines so that our payment system keeps up with the pace of innovation," Campbell said.

The bottom line: "I don't think we should expect the industry to be a moral actor when everything we do in U.S. policy regarding pharma focuses...purely on money and financial incentives," said Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Peter Bach.

  • "As a matter of policy, we the people believe the industry should respond almost solely to financial risks and rewards, and so they do," he added.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.