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An influential Boston-based watchdog group uses a “one-size-fits-all” approach to judge a fair price for prescription drugs, a mindset ill-suited for a growing wave of expensive medicines that treat rare diseases, according to a new report by a think tank.

The report by the libertarian-leaning Pioneer Institute challenged how the nonprofit Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, or ICER, gauges what drugs should cost. The watchdog’s real agenda, said the Pioneer report, is simply to build pressure on drug firms to cut prices.


“ICER’s continuing negative reviews of rare disease drugs seem to indicate that their goal is not to accommodate the unique contextual challenges of rare disease therapies but simply to push their prices down,” said the study written by William Smith, a visiting fellow in the life sciences at Pioneer, which is also located in Boston.

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