U.S. trade deals have had mixed results for pharmaceuticals

American consumers may not have benefited all that much from the pharmaceutical components of trade deals, a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine argues.

The big picture: Starting with NAFTA, every U.S. trade agreement made since has included a pharmaceutical component.

When an expensive drug turns out to be a dud

Illustration of a cracked golden pill
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Pharmaceutical companies can often begin raking in huge profits before they've proven that a new drug will work. And some of them don't work.

The big picture: The FDA is increasingly allowing drugmakers to start selling their products based on preliminary evidence, wrapping up their clinical trials after they’re already on the market. Some of those trials don’t pan out — but drugmakers are still charging sky-high prices in the interim.