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In recent years, Robert Ripley has watched spiking drug prices menace his budget like a fast-rising flood.

The longtime chief of pharmacy for Trinity Health, a Catholic chain of 93 hospitals from New York to California, said he’s never seen anything like it in his 30-plus years in the business. The eye-popping prices of new branded drugs are one issue. But even worse are the wild price hikes and sudden shortages of generics that have been available for many decades.

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