FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb prepares to testify on Capitol Hill. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has dramatically cut down its backlog of generic drugs waiting for an approval decision — a long-standing but elusive goal with the potential to help lower consumers' drug costs.

What they're saying: "I think the greatest opportunity to have a very palpable impact on people's lives is through trying to create greater access," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The low-hanging fruit was on the generic drug side."

The numbers that matter: In 2012, the FDA had a backlog of more than 2,800 applications seeking the approval of a new generic drug. That's now down to the "low 100s," according to the Post.

Why it matters: Drug pricing is an enormously partisan issue, but just about everyone supports faster approval decisions for generics. And by making that happen, Gottlieb is making good on the conservative pledge to lower prices by bolstering competition.

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Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Meadows confirms Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents were false

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the disclosure of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails "were not self-executing declassification orders," after a federal judge demanded that Trump be asked about his intentions.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the first time Trump himself has indicated, according to Meadows, that his tweets are not official directives.

2 hours ago - World

China embraces hostage diplomacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government is threatening to detain foreign citizens unless their home governments do what Beijing demands. In some cases, China has already made good on those threats.

The big picture: This marks a potential evolution of China's "wolf warrior diplomacy" to outright rogue state behavior, putting it in the company of countries like North Korea and Iran, which have also engaged in hostage diplomacy.