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California just passed a law to rein in drug prices. Here’s why it’s unlikely to make much difference

California will now require drug makers to justify price hikes. The goal is admirable but the law is flawed. Here's why it may not make much difference.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law this month.

Over bitter protests from the pharmaceutical industry, California this month enacted a law that requires drug makers to explain and justify prices for some medicines.

Predictably, those who backed the effort are hailing the move as a significant victory, because they hope this will become the first step toward reining in drug prices.

To be sure, this is an admirable goal — medicine should be affordable, and the industry has done a poor job

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