Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is one of three GOP senators seeking an investigation into six-figure annual costs for drugs intended to treat rare diseases. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

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Alex Brandon/AP

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

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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Sarepta Therapeutics was awarded a voucher for a fast-track drug review by the Food and Drug Administration when the company's medicine for Duchenne muscular dystropy was approved Sept. 19. Now Sarepta is looking to sell the voucher to the highest bidder. Mick Wiggins/Ikon Images/Getty Images hide caption

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Mick Wiggins/Ikon Images/Getty Images

Nancy Retzlaff, chief commercial officer for Turing Pharmaceuticals, was asked how much the drug Daraprim costs at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

House Hearing Probes The Mystery Of High Drug Prices That 'Nobody Pays'

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FDA Approval Could Turn A Free Drug For A Rare Disease Pricey

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Flemming Ornskov, CEO of Shire, says the company's offer for ViroPharma is part of a broader push into orphan drugs. Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Bloomberg via Getty Images