STAT+: New court rulings add to the confusing and controversial dispute over a U.S. drug discount program

In the latest twist in a closely watched legal battle, two different federal court judges late last week reached largely conflicting views about the approach taken by the U.S. government to enforce a controversial prescription drug discount program.

One judge decided the federal government overstepped its bounds when it threatened earlier this year to penalize Novartis and United Therapeutics for curtailing discounts in what is known as the 340B drug discount program. However, the judge in the other case, which was brought by Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, took the opposite view, yet at the same time also told the government to reassess a key issue concerning the use of contract pharmacies, which are at the heart of the dispute.

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