Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is looking into how the Orphan Drug Act may be affecting a wide range of drug prices. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

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Andrew Harnik/AP

Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., (right) and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., get settled before the start of Price's confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,Inc. hide caption

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Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

Luke Whitbeck, 2, sits on his mother's lap while the nurse prepares his treatment at a pediatric infusion center in Hawthorne, N.Y., in October 2016. Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News

High Prices For Orphan Drugs Strain Families And Insurers

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NPR, Kaiser Health News/Evaluate Pharma analysis for Kaiser Health News on Sept. 21, 2016

Drugs For Rare Diseases Have Become Uncommonly Rich Monopolies

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Diseased brain tissue from an Alzheimer's patient showing amyloid plaques (in blue) located in the gray matter of the brain. Dr Cecil H Fox/Science Source/Getty Images hide caption

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Dr Cecil H Fox/Science Source/Getty Images

Gilead Sciences' Harvoni can cure hepatitis C, but the drug costs a fortune. Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images hide caption

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Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images

The federal government spends more than $30 billion a year to fund the National Institutes of Health. What changes are in store under a new administration? NIH/Flickr hide caption

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NIH/Flickr