Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened an inquiry into potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act that may have contributed to high prices on commonly used drugs. A recent investigation by Kaiser Health News found that the orphan drug program intended to help desperate patients is being manipulated by drug manufacturers. While the companies are not breaking the law, they are using the Orphan Drug Act to secure lucrative incentives and gain monopoly control of rare disease markets where drugs often command astronomical price tags. More than 70 drugs that now have orphan status were first approved by FDA for mass market use. Others are drugs that have received multiple exclusivity periods for two or more rare conditions. About 80 drugs fall into this latter category.