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Merck touts a 60% price cut, but the drug is outdated and on the way out

Drugmakers have been lining up to tout new drug price policies lately, from deferring increases to freezing drug prices.

Merck & Co. Inc. went a step further on Thursday, announcing a cap on average increases and cuts to some drug prices. The largest percentage cut announced was a 60% price reduction for its Zepatier treatment for hepatitis C.

But the price slash was hardly an act of pharmaceutical benevolence: As hepatitis C treatments have improved, Zepatier has been outpaced by rival products. Newer drugs treat all the disease’s strains and, in one case, the total regimen is shorter and priced more reasonably.

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