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Hello, everyone, and how are you this morning? Despite some tech challenges today, we are hanging in there, as they say. Our official mascot is undeterred and scurrying about the Pharmalot campus. As for us, we are attempting to go about our usual routine, which includes a cup of stimulation and gazing out the window at delightfully sunny skies. Now, though, the time has come to get cracking. So here are a few items of interest to help you along. Hope your day goes well and you have no trouble making your own connections. …

The White House stunned health care experts last month when it declared it was abandoning its efforts to reform drug pricing in the major domestic spending package moving through Congress, but unlike earlier in the talks, moderate Democrats weren’t the holdouts. This time, it was Speaker Nancy Pelosi who dealt the blow, STAT tells us. It was her behind-the-scenes opposition, which has not been previously reported, that prompted the White House to declare the issue dead — a surprising role for Pelosi, given her decades of long support for sweeping efforts to lower drug prices. The multiple near-collapses and resurrections of the recent negotiations over drug-pricing reform underscore how momentous it was, for Democrats, when they finally did announce a drug pricing deal last week.


The European Union is negotiating with Merck (MRK) and Pfizer (PFE) over possible contracts to supply their experimental Covid-19 pills, although talks with Merck are more advanced because the company has already begun submitting data to the European Medicines Agency, Reuters reports. Both U.S. drug makers have developed antiviral pills that have shown promising efficacy in trials of adults with Covid-19 who are at high risk of serious illness, with Pfizer’s at 89% and Merck’s around 50%. Pfizer has yet to submit any data because preliminary results of its trials were published only last week, a month after Merck’s first results.

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