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In unusual language, the Department of Health and Human Services watchdog rebuked Mallinckrodt (MNK) over a proposed plan to provide free amounts of its high-priced Acthar Gel treatment to hospitals and patients, which the agency maintained could create “fraud and abuse risks.”

At issue is an effort by Mallinckrodt to widen the market for its drug, which is used to combat infantile spasms and is a treatment of last resort for other serious maladies. But the decades-old medication has a controversial pricing history that the HHS Office of Inspector General made a strong point of noting in explaining why the company proposal was problematic.

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