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Underscoring a need to control the rising cost of medicines, the Irish government is holding talks with four other small European nations about joining their coalition that negotiates with drug makers.

In a statement, Ireland’s health minister, Simon Harris, noted that he had sent a formal letter of intent to open negotiations with Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Austria to join their BeNeLuxA Initiative, which assesses the cost and benefits of medicines, and bargains over pricing.

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