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WASHINGTON — Congress has rebuffed drug companies’ appeals to reduce how much they have to pay for some seniors’ prescription costs — a rare defeat for the industry after a frenzied lobbying campaign.

Drug makers had pressed Republicans to use a sprawling appropriations deal to roll back a policy that makes them responsible for 70 percent of the prescription costs for seniors who reach the so-called “donut hole” in 2019. The “donut hole” is a gap in Medicare drug coverage in which beneficiaries are on the hook for sky-high prescription costs, up to a certain dollar amount.


Drug makers were hoping that a provision in the bill — likely headed for a vote in Congress this week — would lower their share of costs to somewhere between 60 percent and 64 percent. But the $1.3 trillion deal, hammered out in weeks of negotiations and unveiled Wednesday night, does not include any changes to current law.

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  • What a novel idea, increasing the rebates so that seniors won’t go broke before they break out of the donut hole. This is no surprise. Some makers of five and six figure drugs have already warned in their Forward Guidances that rebates will be increasing in 2018, with losses falling to their bottom line as they shed crocodile tears.

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