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WASHINGTON — The drug manufacturing industry’s main lobbying group is backing a big change to the way prescription drugs are priced, but it’s unclear how it would impact the industry’s business model.

At first glance, it looked like PhRMA is embracing one of the Trump administration’s biggest ideas for addressing prescription drug prices — eliminating rebates that drug makers pay to pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen that negotiate drug prices on behalf of insurance companies. But in fact, PhRMA’s idea is vague enough that it’s unclear exactly what it would do and whether it will bring down the price of drugs for patients.


PhRMA CEO Steven Ubl said in a call with reporters that his companies should reduce the amount of money they pay to pharmacy benefit managers. Instead of paying PBMs a cut of the list price, drug companies should pay a fee “based on the value of the services they provide.”

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