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WASHINGTON — Drug makers mounted a last-minute, and so far unsuccessful, campaign to kill a surprise provision in House Democrats’ massive spending package that will substantially curtail tax breaks meant to fuel rare disease research, according to an internal industry email obtained by STAT.

The provision, which Democrats included in the spending package on Monday, cracks down on the so-called orphan drug tax credit. Currently, drug makers are allowed to write off 25% of their clinical trial costs for drugs treating so-called orphan conditions, which affect fewer than 200,000 people. Under the provision introduced by Democrats, drug makers could not collect the credit if the drug had previously been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for a separate indication.

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