Chris Potter / Flickr Creative Commons

John Carroll at the pharmaceutical news website Endpoints did some interesting digging on the new high-priced drug from Marathon Pharmaceuticals for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The drug company claims that the annual $89,000 list price is justified to recoup the lofty research and development costs and that it won't be profitable for years, but Carroll found that defense probably doesn't hold up. The key points:

  • Carroll consulted with two pharmaceutical industry experts, who analyzed the data and said the costs for acquiring and developing the drug were as low as $6 million and likely no more than $75 million.
  • A slide from a webinar about the effort listed no new registrational studies, which are usually the most expensive part of research and development costs.
  • Assuming Marathon only gets the negotiated rate of $54,000, the company would only have to treat 200 to 1,400 U.S. patients who have Duchenne (or no more than 8% of the market) in one year "to cover a barebones R&D effort." And don't forget: Marathon has seven years of exclusive monopoly pricing for the drug, and it acquired a valuable "priority review voucher" that can be sold or used to speed along a new drug.

Go deeper

Michael Cohen taken back into federal custody

Michael Cohen arrives at his Park Avenue apartment on May 21 in New York City. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's disgraced former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is heading back to prison after refusing the conditions of his home confinement, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Details: A New York Post report earlier this month placed Cohen out at a restaurant in New York with his wife, while one of the sources said that more broadly he refused to wear an ankle bracelet.

U.S. sanctions Chinese officials over Uighur human rights abuses

Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

The Treasury Department announced Thursday that the U.S. has sanctioned four Chinese Communist Party officials and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau for human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: The sanctions designations, pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Act passed by Congress in 2016, mark a significant escalation in the Trump administration's response to the Chinese government's detainment of over 1 million Uighurs in internment camps.

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 12,118,667 — Total deaths: 551,271 — Total recoveries — 6,649,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 3,081,383 — Total deaths: 132,570 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,431,666Map.
  3. Public health: Cases rise in 33 statesFlorida reports highest single-day coronavirus death toll since pandemic began.
  4. Science: World Health Organization acknowledges airborne transmission of coronavirus.
  5. Travel: Young adults are most likely to have moved due to coronavirus.