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Between a new law aimed at springboarding treatments and a new administration promising to steamroll regulations, the federal government seems primed to approve more prescription drugs — and to do so faster. But one unintended consequence could be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Whether the Food and Drug Administration should hasten drug approvals is a matter of vigorous debate from a scientific and safety standpoint. But many critics of that approach also make another argument that has been largely overlooked: More drug approvals could mean more unnecessary public spending.

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