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In a bid to defuse sharp criticism of prescription drug pricing, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts, and several pharmaceutical companies are teaming up to offer discounts on more than three dozen brand medicines.

The program, called InsideRx, is geared primarily to patients who lack insurance or who have high-deductible health plans, and offers average discounts of 34 percent on medicines for treating diabetes, high cholesterol, acid reflux, and respiratory problems such as asthma.

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