The House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday approved several bills designed to enhance prescription drug competition.

Details: This includes the CREATES Act, which received bipartisan buy-in after relatively minor changes were made to the original version. 

  • That bill would allow generics manufacturers to sue brand-name drugmakers for access to the samples they need for approval, although the new version offers more protections to brands.
  • The committee also passed a bill that makes it illegal for branded companies to pay generic companies to stay off the market.

The big picture: CREATES is expected to save the federal government $3.9 billion over 10 years, a fraction of the $100 billion spent on Medicare's prescription drug benefit alone in 2017. 

  • But Congress has thus far struggled to do much of anything, and the push to reduce drug prices has to start somewhere.

Go deeper: The drug pricing debate is stuck in the past

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - World

China announces retaliatory sanctions on Rubio, Cruz and other U.S. officials

Photos: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry announced Monday that it's imposing sanctions on Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with nine other Americans, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: It's a direct response to similar actions by the U.S. that included the Trump administration placing sanctions on officials Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last Friday over Beijing's encroachment of the Asian financial hub's s autonomy.

Biden’s union push could force showdown with Elon Musk

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Joe Biden wants to go big on climate change and big on unions. Elon Musk leads on the former but lags on the latter.

Why it matters: Musk isn’t uniquely averse to unions, but Tesla is considered a leader on the type of new technologies needed to tackle climate change. Musk’s leadership ethos could be in the crosshairs if Biden becomes president and follows through on his campaign vows.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Police and protesters clash in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election win

Protesters and riot police clash in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday during a demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator." Rights groups said at least one protester was killed and dozens more wounded in a "police crackdown," per AP.