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Drugmaker sues county over contract

Friday, June 23, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter

A major pharmaceutical company is suing Cook County, raising questions about the way officials awarded one of the county's most lucrative health care contracts.

McKesson Corp. filed suit Thursday, asking a judge to stop the county from awarding a $276 million contract to provide medications to four county hospitals and dozens of clinics.

McKesson has held the lucrative contract since it was awarded on a no-bid basis in 2001. Last year, the county began extending it while soliciting bids from other vendors.

McKesson provided the lowest bid each time the county solicited bids, the suit claims, but the county kept rejecting the bids until earlier this month, when it said a paperwork error would prevent the contract from going to McKesson and it was instead awarded to a higher bidder, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp.

County commissioners have expressed concerns about this contract in recent meetings, but county officials declined comment.

McKesson attorney D.R. Edwards said the company is suing in hopes of learning more about other bids and the county's selection process.



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