Taking on drug pricing is simultaneously the smartest political move a lawmaker can make and the most potentially damning.

Data show the public’s disdain for pharmaceutical companies is pretty much bipartisan: 57 percent of Republicans blame companies for high costs and 15 percent blame the government. Among Democrats, 71 percent blame pharmaceutical companies and 12 percent blame the government.

“While there are some statistically significant correlations there, they are much smaller than what we see on almost any topic today,”...