When it comes to the cost of pharmaceuticals, companies like to play the blame game.

Drug makers carp that they must pay steep discounts to pharmacy benefit managers in order to win favorable coverage and ensure their medicines are prescribed. Pharmacy benefit managers deny pocketing unfair shares of the discounts, and argue drug makers offer discounts simply to boost sales — and could turn off the discount spigot at will. Patients, meanwhile, are caught in the middle.

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