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Three congressional lawmakers are examining the extent to which pharmaceutical wholesalers and a leading drug maker may use a provision in the Covid-19 relief bill enacted last year to boost tax breaks for legal costs related to their roles in the opioid crisis.

The inquiry was sparked by Cardinal Health (CAH), which recently disclosed plans to collect a $974 million refund as a net operating loss carryback. This accounting exercise allows a company to claim an immediate refund of taxes previously paid by reducing taxes owed in the past. This break was included in the CARES Act bailout package last year as a way to help companies struggling during the pandemic.

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