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Major drugmakers push back in U.S. price debate

With a backlash brewing over the price of medicines in the United States, drugmakers are pushing back with a new message: Most people don’t pay retail.

Top executives from Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N), Merck & Co (MRK.N) and Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) said in interviews with Reuters this week that the media focus on retail, or “list prices,” for branded medications is misplaced.

They stressed that the actual prices paid by prescription benefit managers, insurers and other large purchasers are reduced through negotiated discounts.