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WASHINGTON — When Medicare starts negotiating drug prices, it will take into account how important a drug is for patients, Meena Seshamani, the director of the Center for Medicare, said Tuesday.

“We want to have the innovations for the cures and therapies that people need,” she said at an event held by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. Some drugs work better than others. Some are similar to drugs already on the market, but some are breakthroughs for previously unmet needs. Some fall somewhere in between. Medicare officials will consider those aspects, she said.

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It was an effort to push back on concern from drugmakers, which have worried publicly that Medicare officials will pay only the cost of manufacturing drugs, plus a small profit margin.

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