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WASHINGTON — Drug company lobbyists are pushing lawmakers to include in the forthcoming appropriations package two small changes to Medicare that could help them reap bigger profits from the federal program.

Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, and Genentech, the makers of several of the most popular “biologic” drugs, are lobbying Republicans to add a provision that ensures that one Medicare program doesn’t pay more for newer “biosimilar” drugs than it does for their products, according to several congressional aides and lobbyists.


It’s a change that advocates say would level the playing field for providers choosing which drug to prescribe — but it could also curb the fledgling biosimilars market that many in Congress — and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb — have said they want to encourage. And it would mean exempting new biosimilar drugs from policies that are meant to encourage innovation — policies that Johnson & Johnson’s and Amgen’s products were once eligible to benefit from themselves.

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