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A heated clash over a U.S. government drug discount program has intensified after a federal agency appealed several recent court rulings that questioned its approach to enforcing a decades-old initiative. At the same time, AbbVie became the latest in a growing number of companies to restrict its discounts, adding to the disarray over a program that provides a safety net to low-income patients.

In a series of filings made last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appealed decisions issued in different federal courts that, in varying degrees, raised concerns about the agency’s authority to administer its interpretation of the 340B Drug Discount Program. Some of the rulings, though, also chastised drug makers for taking unilateral steps to withhold discounts.

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