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Three years ago, a former CVS Health executive told a U.S. Senate committee hearing that the company — which has deep tentacles into the Byzantine system for making prescription drugs available — ensures that its customers receive the lowest-cost medicines.

“When those lower list prices result in the lowest net cost for the patient as well as for the plan, then absolutely, that is the preferred drug on formulary,” said Derica Rice, who was an executive vice president at the time. He was responding to questions about the ways in which CVS places medicines on its formularies, or list of medicines covered by health insurance, created by its pharmacy benefits unit.

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