ASHINGTON — With a slew of congressional hearings that have proved to be more about posturing than policy, presidential pronouncements about murderous drug companies, and rumors of executive orders that never materialize, it’s easy to grow disillusioned by the debate over drug prices in Washington.

But as the Federal Trade Commission prepares to host federal officials and other experts to discuss the issue Wednesday, there’s an unusual degree of excitement about the possibility that the agency — which can function as part law office, part think tank — could effect meaningful change to rein in prices.

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