Cardinal Health paying $26.8 million to settle antitrust case with the FTC

Cardinal Health will pay $26.8 million as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it monopolized the sale of diagnostic drugs known as low-energy radiopharmaceuticals in 25 markets.

The charges alleged that the pharmaceutical and medical-products distributor forced hospitals and clinics to pay inflated prices for the drugs, used to diagnose a range of conditions, including heart disease.

The FTC says Cardinal Health did this by employing various tactics to get both Bristol Myers-Squibb and General Electric Co. to refuse to grant distribution rights for their radiopharmaceuticals used in heart stress tests to potential Cardinal competitors in those 25 markets.

Cardinal Health officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The FTC says the settlement is the second largest it has obtained in an antitrust case.