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March 26 (Bloomberg) — Abandoning a long-held industry tradition, GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Merck & Co. won’t help low-income Obamacare patients pay for their high-priced drugs.

The drugmakers say they won’t provide the assistance until the government decides whether programs overseen by the U.S. health-care act are subject to federal laws banning kickbacks that steer business to companies. So far, U.S. agencies have sent mixed messages on the issue, industry officials said.

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