Prescription bottle caps. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

One of the Trump administration’s most concrete efforts to lower drug prices is an approach that’s been around for decades: approving more generic drugs. And it’s moving fast.

By the numbers: FDA approved 781 generic drugs in fiscal 2018. That’s 90% more than in 2014, when Congress provided new authorities designed to speed the approval process, according to a PwC report.

Between the lines: Some generics are more important than others.

  • The approval of a generic EpiPen this past summer was seen as an especially big deal. Generic versions of complex products (like the EpiPen) are harder to produce, and the FDA has said it’s especially invested in helping those products get to the market.

Yes, but: The first generic competitor to a brand-name product often isn’t the one that brings prices way down. Generics can still make a lot of money by being just slightly cheaper than the product they’re copying, so the steepest discounts often don’t appear until multiple generics hit the market.

What’s next: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is trying to standardize key parts of the review process in the U.S. and Europe, so that generics could more easily seek approval in both regulatory systems.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

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The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.

Right-wing misinformation machine could gain steam post-election

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With less than a week until the 2020 election, researchers have expressed concern that the information ecosystem today is ripe for an unprecedented level of exploitation by bad actors, particularly hyper-partisan media and personalities on the right.

Why it matters: The misinformation-powered right-wing media machine that fueled Donald Trump's 2016 victory grew stronger after that win, and it's set to increase its reach as a result of the upcoming election, whether Trump wins or loses.

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