drug costs

The Public Backs Medicare Rx Price Negotiation Even After Hearing Both Sides’ Views

As Congress debates cutting prescription drug costs, a poll released Tuesday found the vast majority of adults — regardless of their political party or age — support letting the federal government negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and those in private health insurance plans. The argument that pharmaceutical companies need to charge high prices to …

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What the Stalemate on Capitol Hill Means for Your Drug Prices

As President Joe Biden’s government overhaul stalls in Congress, tensions are mounting over what changes ― if any ― could come for Americans at the pharmacy counter. The proposals in flux range from tinkering with tax credits to far-reaching changes in federal payments systems. Pressure is building to contain costs that have skyrocketed over the …

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An Ad’s Charge That Price Haggling Would ‘Swipe $500 Billion From Medicare’ Is Incorrect

“These guys [insurance companies and Washington bureaucrats] are working together to swipe $500 billion from Medicare to pay for Pelosi and Schumer’s out-of-control spending spree.” Video advertisement from the 60 Plus American Association of Senior Citizens The advertisement opens with a doctor sitting across from his patient and holding a prescription drug pill bottle. “You …

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From the FDA’s Empty Seat to Chock-Full ICUs, Journalists Recap the Week’s Stories

KHN correspondent Rachana Pradhan discussed why President Joe Biden hasn’t yet nominated a permanent leader for the Food and Drug Administration on Newsy’s “Morning Rush” on Thursday. Click here to hear Pradhan on “Morning Rush“ Read Pradhan’s “Public Health Experts ‘Flabbergasted’ That Biden Still Hasn’t Picked an FDA Chief” KHN freelancer Nick Ehli discussed Montana’s …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Autumn of Democrats’ Discontent

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Democrats in Congress and the White House are feverishly negotiating to pass as much of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda as they can agree on, even as …

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Biosimilar Drugs Are Cheaper Than Biologics. Are They Similar Enough to Switch?

It took years for Elle Moxley to get a diagnosis that explained her crippling gastrointestinal pain, digestion problems, fatigue, and hot, red rashes. And after learning in 2016 that she had Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, she spent more than four years trying medications before getting her disease under control with …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Much Ado About Drug Prices

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Congressional Democrats are finding it harder to actually write legislation to lower drug prices than it is to make promises about it. But the drug price provisions of the $3.5 trillion social-spending bill …

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Readers and Tweeters Ponder Vaccines and Points of Fairness

Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. Higher Insurance Rates for the Unvaccinated? Snuff Out That Idea This is about Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal’s comments on “All In With Chris Hayes” (“Analysis: Don’t Want a Vaccine? Be Prepared to …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Booster Time

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. As covid-19 cases in the U.S. continue to rise, the Biden administration is countering with new strategies. The latest efforts include preparing for vaccine boosters starting this …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Senate Acts

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Senate has set the stage for a busy fall that will include debate on a broad array of health issues, such as prescription drug prices, Medicare …

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National Academies’ Report Took Pharma-Friendly Stance After Millions in Gifts From Drugmakers

To several U.S. senators, it looked wasteful, even outrageous. Every year, taxpayers pay for at least $750 million worth of expensive pharmaceuticals that are simply thrown away. Companies ship many of the drugs in “Costco”-size vials, one lawmaker said, that once opened usually cannot be resealed or saved for other patients. Yet pharma gets paid …

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Pharmacies Face Extra Audit Burdens That Threaten Their Existence

The clock was about to strike midnight, and Scott Newman was desperately feeding pages into a scanner, trying to prevent thousands of dollars in prescription payments from turning into a pumpkin. As the owner of Newman Family Pharmacy, an independent drugstore in Chesapeake, Virginia, he was responding to an audit ordered by a pharmacy benefit …

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2+2=? Senate Uses Murky Math as It Shelves Drug Pricing Rule to Fund Infrastructure

The Senate’s release of its bipartisan infrastructure plan signals that lawmakers are poised to throw former President Donald Trump’s belated bid to lower Medicare drug prices under the bus — not to mention trains, bridges, tunnels and broadband connections. That’s because the massive spending bill is the first of two likely to at least delay …

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Facing Headwinds on New Alzheimer’s Drug, Biogen Launches Controversial Campaign

Do you sometimes lose your train of thought or feel a bit more anxious than is typical for you? Those are two of the six questions in a quiz on a website co-sponsored by the makers of Aduhelm, a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug. But even when all responses to the frequency of those experiences are …

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Sen. Wyden: $3.5T Budget May Have to Trim but It Can Set a Path to ‘Ambitious Goals’

Exactly what American health care will look like if Democrats can pass their $3.5 trillion spending plan is unclear, but the senator negotiating its health-related provisions hopes what emerges will be dramatic: the first complete health care system for older Americans and significantly reduced costs for everyone else. “We are setting very, very ambitious goals,” …

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Biden’s July Executive Order Includes Drug Pricing Provisions. But Will They Do Enough?

President Joe Biden’s executive order of July 9 included various steps toward making good on campaign promises to take on pharmaceutical companies by allowing the importation of prescription drugs and curbing the high cost of medicines. These issues were key to candidate Biden’s 2020 health care platform, which stated he would “stand up to abuse …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Here Comes Reconciliation

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The expansion of health benefits is a major piece of the tentative budget deal reached this week by Democrats in Congress. They plan to press ahead — …

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As Congress Wrestles With Plans to Expand Medicare, Becerra Says Any One Will Do

The Biden administration will support whatever expansions to Medicare Congress is willing to make, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Tuesday. Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working on plans both to add benefits to the health program for seniors and to lower its eligibility age from 65 to 60. But the efforts …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Becerra Urges Congress to Expand Medicare, Address Rx Prices

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Biden administration stands ready to work with Congress to address drug prices and expand Medicare, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a wide-ranging …

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Paying Billions for Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug? How About Funding This Instead?

If you could invest $56 billion each year in improving health care for older adults, how would you spend it? On a hugely expensive medication with questionable efficacy — or something else? This isn’t an abstract question. Aduhelm, a new Alzheimer’s drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month, could be prescribed to …

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How One Rural Town Without a Pharmacy Is Crowdsourcing to Get Meds

WALDEN, Colo. — The building that once housed the last drugstore in this town of fewer than 600 is now a barbecue restaurant, where pit boss Larry Holtman dishes out smoked brisket and pulled pork across the same counter where pharmacists dispensed vital medications more than 30 years ago. It’s an hourlong drive over treacherous …

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States Step Up Push to Regulate Pharmacy Drug Brokers

Under pressure to rein in skyrocketing prescription drug costs, states are targeting companies that serve as conduits for drug manufacturers, health insurers and pharmacies. More than 100 separate bills regulating those companies, known as pharmacy benefit managers, have been introduced in 42 states this year, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy, which …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Our 200th Episode!

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Food and Drug Administration found itself in the hot seat this week when it approved a controversial new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease with scant evidence …

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Change to Gilead Assistance Program Threatens PrEP Access, HIV Advocates Say

Dr. John Carlo is concerned that patients at Prism Health North Texas who rely on the health care safety net will soon be struggling even more to stay on PrEP, a medication that prevents HIV transmission. Carlo, chief executive officer of the clinic, which runs three locations in Dallas, offers free PrEP to roughly 250 …

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FDA Weighs Approval of a Lucrative Alzheimer’s Drug but Benefits Are Iffy

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision next week whether to approve the first treatment for Alzheimer’s disease highlights a deep division over the drug’s benefits as well as criticism about the integrity of the FDA approval process. This story also ran on The Daily Beast. It can be republished for free. The agency said it …

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KHN Journalist Combs for Clues on Covid’s Origins

California Healthline editor Arthur Allen discussed the investigation into the origins of the coronavirus on KPBS’ “Midday Edition” on Wednesday. Click here to hear Allen on KPBS Read Allen’s “To the Bat Cave: In Search of Covid’s Origins, Scientists Reignite Polarizing Debate on Wuhan ‘Lab Leak’“ Senior Colorado correspondent Markian Hawryluk discussed Colorado’s efforts to …

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Biden Administration Signals It’s in No Rush to Allow Canadian Drug Imports

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The Biden administration said Friday it has no timeline on whether it will allow states to import drugs from Canada, an effort that was approved under President Donald Trump as a key strategy to control costs.  Six states have passed laws to start such programs, and Florida, Colorado and New Mexico are the furthest along in plans to get federal approval.    The …

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Colorado Lawmakers Wage Multifront Assault on High Drug Costs

DENVER — Tired of waiting for federal action to reduce prescription drug costs, Colorado is acting on its own — even if it must do so with one arm tied behind its back. Unable to set prices or change patent protections, the state is exploring creative legislative and administrative approaches to lower out-of-pocket costs on …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Effort Hits a Snag

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The high cost of prescription drugs is a top health issue for the public and politicians, but concerns raised by a group of moderate Democrats threaten to derail a bill being pushed by House Democratic leaders. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the …

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Democrats Disagree About How to Spend Potential Prescription Drug Windfall

One of the few surprises in President Joe Biden’s social safety-net proposal, the American Families Plan, was something that didn’t make it into the final version: any mention of reining in the price of prescription drugs. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The American Families Plan, the second part of Biden’s expansive …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 100 Days of Health Policy

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. It’s been a busy 100 days for the Biden administration on health policy. The promise Joe Biden made as president-elect to get 100 million covid vaccinations in arms was doubled, healthcare.gov reopened to those without insurance, and steps were taken to undo a raft of …

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The FDA Seeks a New Way to Review Old Drugs Without Causing Prices to Soar

Chuck Peterson of Omaha, Nebraska, recently experienced a swollen, painful knuckle caused by arthritis. He got a prescription for colchicine. Doctors have used the drug for treating gout and other rheumatic conditions for well over two centuries. When Peterson went to the pharmacy, he was shocked to discover that a two-month supply of 120 pills, …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Planning for Round Two

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Congress is out of session, but that hasn’t stopped Democrats from planning their next round of health legislation. Together with President Joe Biden, they are looking at a broad array of possibilities, from allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices to adding more benefits to the …

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The Great Undoing: Which of Trump’s Policies Will Biden Reverse?

KHN has put together an interactive tool of significant health policies implemented by the Trump administration using its own authority — executive orders, agency guidance or formal regulations — and is tracking Biden administration and court actions. We will update this chart as actions are taken. Topics: Affordable Care Act | HHS Operations | Immigration …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Getting Down to Work at HHS

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. As questions swirl about the covid vaccine made by AstraZeneca, public health experts are worried the confusion could create more doubts among people already hesitant to get a vaccine. Meanwhile, the first Senate-confirmed officials are settling into their offices at the Department of Health and …

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Democrats Eye Medicare Negotiations to Lower Drug Prices

Democrats, newly in control of Congress and the White House, are united behind an idea that Republican lawmakers and major drugmakers fiercely oppose: empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the prices of brand-name drugs covered by Medicare. This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. But they …

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Centene’s “corporate greed” led it to allegedly overcharge Ohio’s Medicaid department

The Ohio attorney general has filed a lawsuit alleging that a Centene subsidiary, which provides Medicaid services in the state, hired multiple companies to administer pharmacy benefits in order to inflate costs. As a result, the state’s Medicaid department paid millions in overcharges.

States Move Ahead With Canada Drug Importation While Awaiting Signal From Biden

Florida, Colorado and several New England states are moving ahead with efforts to import prescription drugs from Canada, a politically popular strategy greenlighted last year by President Donald Trump. But it’s unclear whether the Biden administration will proceed with Trump’s plan for states and the federal government to help Americans obtain lower-priced medications from Canada. …

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Remdesivir, Given to Half of Hospitalized Covid Patients in U.S., Is Big Win for Gilead — Boosted by Taxpayers

It was the end of April — just as the U.S. confirmed its millionth covid-19 case and 50,000 deaths — when White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci announced “highly significant” news about a drug called remdesivir. That was surprising because the antiviral drug, owned by Gilead Sciences and developed with investment from the federal government, …

Remdesivir, Given to Half of Hospitalized Covid Patients in U.S., Is Big Win for Gilead — Boosted by Taxpayers Read More »

Health Issues Carried Weight on the Campaign Trail. What Could Biden Do in His First 100 Days?

Joe Biden ran on an expansive health care platform during his 2020 presidential campaign, with a broad array of promises such as adding a government-sponsored health plan to the Affordable Care Act and lowering prescription drug prices. Perhaps most significantly, he pledged to get control of the covid pandemic that claimed more than 400,000 American lives …

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Aunque controlen el Senado, demócratas necesitarán apoyo republicano en temas clave de salud

Ante la pandemia, los demócratas han abogado por ayudas más generosas, más presión sobre las farmacéuticas para que bajen los precios y más atención al racismo sistémico en la atención de salud. El 20 de enero, con el control del Senado y la Cámara de Representantes, tendrán el poder de elegir qué propuestas de salud …

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Even With Senate Control, Democrats Will Need Buy-In From GOP on Key Health Priorities

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Democrats have argued for more generous pandemic relief, more pressure on drugmakers to lower prices and more attention to systemic racism in health care. On Jan. 20, with control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, they’ll have the power to choose which health care …

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Biden’s First Order of Business May Be to Undo Trump’s Policies, but It Won’t Be Easy

The party split in Congress is so slim that, even with Democrats technically in the majority, passing major health care legislation will be extremely difficult. So speculation about President-elect Joe Biden’s health agenda has focused on the things he can accomplish using executive authority. Although there is a long list of things he could do, …

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Many Health Plans Now Must Cover Full Cost of Expensive HIV Prevention Drugs

Ted Howard started taking Truvada a few years ago because he wanted to protect himself against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But the daily pill was so pricey he was seriously thinking about giving it up. Under his insurance plan, the former flight attendant and customer service instructor owed $500 in copayments every month …

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Seniors Face Crushing Drug Costs as Congress Stalls on Capping Medicare Out-Of-Pockets

This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. Sharon Clark is able to get her life-sustaining cancer drug, Pomalyst — priced at more than $18,000 for a 28-day supply — only because of the generosity of patient assistance foundations. Clark, 57, a former insurance agent who lives in Bixby, Oklahoma, had …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 2020 in Review — It Wasn’t All COVID

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. COVID-19 was the dominant — but not the only — health policy story of 2020. In this special year-in-review episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast, panelists look back at some of the biggest non-coronavirus stories. Those included Supreme Court cases on the Affordable Care …

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Surprise Federal Drug Rule Directs Insurers to Reveal What They Pay for Prescription Drugs

Health insurance companies will have to give their customers estimated out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and disclose to the public the negotiated prices they pay for drugs, under an unexpected new Trump administration rule. The administration said those requirements, part of a broader rule issued Oct. 29 forcing health plans to disclose costs and payments …

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A $200 Debit Card Won’t Do Much for Seniors’ Drug Costs

If they’ve been listening to President Donald Trump, seniors may be expecting a $200 debit card in the mail any day now to help them pay for prescription drugs. He promised as much this month, saying his administration soon will mail the drug cards to more than 35 million Medicare beneficiaries. But the cards — …

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Florida Fails to Attract Bidders for Canada Drug Importation Program

Florida’s plan to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada — designed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and endorsed by President Donald Trump — has tasted its first bitter pill. No private firms bid on Florida’s $30 million contract to set up and operate a drug importation program. Bids were due at the end of September. The …

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Progressive Group Highlights Trump, Tillis Weakness on Insulin Price Tags

    During the first presidential debate of 2020, President Donald Trump touted his efforts to curb skyrocketing drug prices and declared that insulin is now “so cheap, it’s like water.” The response on social media was swift, and divided, with some people sharing pharmacy bills showing thousands of dollars they’d spent on insulin, while …

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Not Pandemic-Proof: Insulin Copay Caps Fall Short, Fueling Underground Exchanges

DENVER — D.j. Mattern had her Type 1 diabetes under control until COVID’s economic upheaval cost her husband his hotel maintenance job and their health coverage. The 42-year-old Denver woman suddenly faced insulin’s exorbitant list price — anywhere from $125 to $450 per vial — just as their household income shrank. She scrounged extra insulin …

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Old Drug Turned ‘Cash Cow’ as Company Pumped Price to $40K a Vial, Emails Show

For a dad whose infant son was afflicted with a rare seizure disorder, a drug invented in 1952 was indispensable for his boy. It was also indispensable to executives at the pharmaceutical firm that acquired the drug in 2014 — not because it was a cure, but because it was a “cash cow,” according to …

Old Drug Turned ‘Cash Cow’ as Company Pumped Price to $40K a Vial, Emails Show Read More »

Trump Again Claims He’s Bringing Down Drug Prices, But Details of How Are Skimpy

President Donald Trump has long considered lowering the high cost of prescription drugs to be one of his signature issues, and it is likely to be a talking point he relies on throughout the upcoming campaign. During his afternoon speech Monday ― delivered on the first day of the Repubublican National Convention after delegates had …

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Republicans in COVID Disarray

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump’s pivot to a more serious view of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t last long. This week, he was again touting hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that has not been shown to work against the virus. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans continue to struggle to …

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