Updated May 11, 2018

What Trump will — and won't — say on drug prices

Trump's proposal to restrain drug prices is expected to be modest. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

There are two really big things to watch in President Trump's speech today about drug prices: how much of this plan can be enacted without Congress' help, and the extent to which it takes aim at the actual prices of prescription drugs, rather than trying to rearrange the way the system divvies up those costs.

What we're hearing: There's always room for a surprise with this administration, but so far, all signs point toward a relatively modest proposal.

  • The latest I've heard about the contents of the proposal is about the same as what we were hearing before this speech was delayed last week: Some sort of regulatory nod to value-based pricing is seen as a strong possibility, as is some language on trade.
  • Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar and FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb — both of whom are more steeped in conservative health policy than Trump — have already laid out an agenda that focuses heavily on promoting more competition from generic drugs and targets various middlemen, including hospitals and pharmacy benefit managers.

What they're saying: The White House's proposal will likely fall largely along those same lines.

  • Senior administration officials provided very few details in a call with reporters last night, though they did promise "the most comprehensive plan" from "any president."
  • They said the plan would address drugs' list prices (though that appears to be largely through increased competition); crack down on other countries' low payment rates (which is hard to do); and reduce out-of-pocket spending.

Threat level: Many of the most muscular and controversial policies in Trump's speech will probably be reiterations of what was in his budget proposal — meaning they would require congressional action, meaning drug companies and hospitals have a better chance of fighting to a draw.

The speech is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 662,073 — Total deaths: 30,780 — Total recoveries: 139,426.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 122,666 — Total deaths: 2,147 — Total recoveries: 1,073.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces "strong" travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, rules out quarantine enforcement.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump flags travel adversaries for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said Saturday night the CDC would issue a "strong" travel advisory" for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and that a "quarantine will not be necessary."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

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Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures fo New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states.

Why it matters: The president said hours earlier he was considering the move to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, most notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN such a measure would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

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