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WASHINGTON — The Alzheimer’s Association stunned Washington last month when it urged Biogen to lower the price of its new Alzheimer’s drug — an extremely rare rebuke on drug pricing from a patient advocacy group, most of which normally sidestep the topic.

Pharma’s fiercest critics here — many of whom have blasted patient advocacy groups for not being more involved in the drug pricing debate — celebrated the Alzheimer’s Association’s audacity, especially as it risked being blackballed by its pharma funders. The statement made it clear that Biogen, as one crisis communications expert put it, “can’t afford to alienate its biggest cheerleader.”

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