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WASHINGTON — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ended a plan to pay for a $475,000 Novartis cancer drug based on whether it actually helped patients because the government didn’t think the program would work, the CMS administrator said Thursday.

“We didn’t think it would be successful as proposed,” Seema Verma said at an event for journalists, in her first public explanation of the CMS decision. “So, we’re moving in a different direction.” She did not specify what the new direction is.


Politico reported Monday that the program was cancelled amid concern at the Department of Health and Human Services that Novartis was having too large an influence in the design of the program. Company lawyers met with the government to hash out the circumstances when the drug would be paid for by the government and when the manufacturer would have to eat the cost, according to the story.

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