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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.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

10 months ago, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. Now, less than six months ahead of their new start date, the dreaded word is being murmured: "canceled."

Driving the news: The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Games will have to be called off, The Times reports (subscription), citing an unnamed senior government source.

Biden's centrist words, liberal actions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda.

Why it matters: Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.

3 hours ago - Technology

Review of Trump ban marks major turning point for Facebook

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's decision to ask its new independent Oversight Board to review the company's indefinite suspension of former President Trump is likely to set a critical precedent for how the social media giant handles political speech from world leaders.

What they're saying: "I very much hope and can expect … that they will uphold our decision," Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Axios.