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.

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In photos: Virginians line up for hours on first day of early voting

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

In some parts of Virginia, people waited in line up to four hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The COVID-19 pandemic seems to already have an impact on how people cast their votes this election season. As many as 80 million Americans are expected to vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, told Axios in August.

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Court battles shift mail-in voting deadlines in battleground states

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Michigan joins Pennsylvania in extending mail-in ballot deadlines by several days after the election, due to the coronavirus pandemic and expected delays in U.S. Postal Service.

The latest: Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled that all ballots postmarked before Nov. 2 must be counted, so long as they arrive in the mail before election results are certified. Michigan will certify its general election results on Nov. 23.