Cardinal Health Accused of Monopolizing Sutures Market

Cardinal Health Inc., the second largest U.S. drug distributor by revenue, and medical products distributor Owens & Minor Inc. (OMI) were sued by a Pennsylvania health system for allegedly monopolizing the sutures market.

The two companies’ dominance in the U.S. markets for sutures and endomechanical products led to artificially inflated prices, lawyers for the Schuylkill Health System said in the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Philadelphia. Schuylkill Health, which operates two acute-care hospitals in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is seeking to represent all direct purchasers of sutures and endo products.

“The scheme injures purchasers by suppressing competition, preventing entry and expansion by rivals, imposing supracompetitive prices and stifling innovation,” lawyers for Schuylkill said in the complaint.

The health system is seeking to recover three times the amount of overcharge damages plus court costs.

“We have not been served with a complaint and therefore cannot comment on the matter,” Debbie Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal, said in an e-mail.

Trudi Allcott, a spokeswoman for Owens & Minor, based in Mechanicsville, Virginia, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the filing.

The case is Schuylkill Health System v. Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH), 12-7065, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at spearson3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net

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