McConnell agrees to resume COVID-19 relief talks as COVID task force warns of "further deterioration"
Catch up on the top industries and stocks that were impacted, or were predicted to be impacted, by the comments, actions and policies of President Donald Trump and his administration with this weekly recap compiled by The Fly:
1. RELIEF TALKS: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to continue talks with Democrats over a potential new COVID-19 aid package as cases still surge across the nation, CNBC's Tucker Higgins reported on Thursday. "Last night, they've agreed to sit down and the staffs are going to sit down today or tomorrow to try to begin to see if we can get a real good Covid relief bill," Schumer said during a press conference in New York. "So there's been a little bit of a breakthrough in that McConnell's folks are finally sitting down and talking to us."
2. COVID TASK FORCE: The White House COVID-19 task force has ramped up its warnings to states in a weekly set of reports as the pandemic continues to get worse, raising alarms on the potential impact of a surge in cases on hospitals, CNN's Betsy Klein reported. "There is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both Covid and non-Covid emergencies," state reports dated November 15 obtained by CNN said. The language in such weekly reports has become more serious in recent weeks, the author noted.
Meanwhile, Regeneron (REGN) President and chief scientific officer George Yancopoulos said that Roche (RHHBY) has completed early tests of its ability to make large quantities of Regeneron's coronavirus antibody treatment, putting it on the path to start producing the drug once it is authorized by regulators, Reuters' Carl O'Donnell and Axel Threlfall reported. Yancopoulos told the publication in an interview ahead of this week's Reuters Total Health conference that Roche "has already started engineering runs at scale and (has) been successful." A spokesman for Roche said the company would be ready to start producing the treatment in the first quarter of next year. The experimental therapy was used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump when he tested positive for the virus last month.
3. U.S.-CHINA TENSIONS: Infineon (IFNNY) CEO Reinhard Ploss said that the chipmaker is relatively well insulated from geopolitical disputes between the U.S. and China as a result of the company's focus on power-management semiconductors, Reuters' Douglas Busvine reported. Although Infineon is a supplier for Huawei, which has been the subject of trade curbs from outgoing President Donald Trump, Infineon's main power-management products are linked more to China's wider industrial development than to 5G, Busvine said, citing comments from Ploss at the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media and Telecoms conference. "We think we can still compete quite nicely," Ploss said during the event, noting that the company's development roadmap for the coming years was "very healthy."
4. DRUG PRICING: On Friday, President Trump announced that his administration is issuing two rules to "very dramatically" lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people, especially for seniors. The first action will be to prevent middlemen from "ripping off" Medicare patients with high prescription prices. The second action the administration is finalizing will "transform the way the U.S. government pays for drugs to end global freeloading on the backs of American citizens and American patients," the president said. "Medicare will now look at the price that other developed nations pay for their drugs," Trump added."And instead of paying the highest price on that list - and we are substantially higher than any other country in the world - we will pay the lowest price. In other words, we take the lowest price, and we match whatever the lowest price is, leading to colossal savings for all Americans. And we're talking about savings of 50, 60, 70 percent, 80 percent - different drugs, different prices."
Trump also announced that the White House is ending the Unapproved Drugs Initiative program to put a stop to the "unfair" practice of allowing drug companies to identify certain older generic drugs that have been widely available for decades and exploit a misguided program called "Unapproved Drugs Initiative" to obtain market exclusivity on these medicines. Publicly traded drugmakers include AstraZeneca (AZN), Bristol-Myers (BMY), Eli Lilly (LLY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Merck (MRK), Novartis (NVS), Pfizer (PFE), Roche (RHHBY) and Sanofi (SNY).
"Week in Review" is The Fly's weekly recap of its recurring series of "Trump Effect" exclusive stories.