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WASHINGTON — The dark-money group that has spent over $1 million on mysterious, pharma-bashing radio ads was formed by a top executive and a top lobbyist for the American Hospital Association and a former political consultant for CVS Health, according to a 2018 tax filing released to STAT this week.

The secretive group, known as Citizens for Truth in Drug Pricing, has blanketed airwaves with radio advertisements and sponsored commentary that sharply criticizes drug companies for high prices. It has also paid numerous well-known radio hosts, including the conservative personality Hugh Hewitt, to post Facebook ads urging voters to sign a petition to “stop drug companies from overcharging” and warning lawmakers they “risk reelection in 2020” if they do not support drug pricing reforms.

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  • The plug being pulled on ending drug rebates may also have something to do with the fact that Medicare really wants to get beneficiaries into managed care. Drug rebates, if used to subsidize premiums as plan sponsors claim, help further that goal. The ugly part is that we have a situation of the sick (those paying inflated list prices for rebated prescriptions) subsidizing the premiums of all, including the healthy.

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