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In the first test of a new law designed to lower drug costs, a New York state panel voted unanimously to seek an additional rebate for a pricey cystic fibrosis drug for the state Medicaid program.

The decision comes in response to concerns that the medicine, which is called Orkambi and has a list price of $272,000, may cause the state Medicaid program to exceed a cap on drug spending. In a 10-to-0 vote, the state Department of Health was authorized to negotiate with Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) for a rebate that would bring the cost down to about $83,200 and match cost effectiveness estimates.


Last year, New York passed a law last year that permits a drug utilization review panel to consider the need for supplemental rebates. By federal law, state Medicaid programs automatically get a 23.1 percent discount off the list price of a drug. And for every dollar a state spends on Medicaid, the state receives a certain percentage reimbursed by the federal government.

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