DoJ subpoenas AZ, Medco about four meds

AstraZeneca and Medco Health Solutions are under the Department of Justice's microscope. Prosecutors have subpoenaed the drugmaker and pharmacy benefits manager about their relationship, asking specifically about four AstraZeneca drugs.

Medco disclosed the Justice Department investigation in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wall Street Journal reports, saying the subpoena arrived this month from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware, where AZ maintains its headquarters. The company said it received a similar subpoena from that office.

The probe involves AstraZeneca's acid reflux blockbusters Nexium and Prilosec, as well as the hypertension meds Plendil and Toprol XL. Tony Jewell, an AZ spokesman, told the WSJ that the company is in the process of responding to the subpoena. There's no way of knowing whether AstraZeneca faces any liability from the investigation, Jewell said.

As awkward as the investigation may prove to be for the drugmaker, it's particularly troublesome for Medco right now, Reuters points out. The PBM just agreed to be acquired by competitor Express Scripts in a $29 billion-plus deal. The merger is expected to attract close scrutiny from regulators worried about antitrust issues. Plus, Medco is already under investigation by the SEC, which has been looking into the PBM's relationship with California Public Employees' Retirement System. 

- see the WSJ story
- get more from Reuters

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