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NC Attorney General eyes 'artificial' hospital pricing

The Charlotte Observer, October 8, 2012

Calling the state's health care costs artificially high, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper says he will examine whether to use antitrust laws or new legislation to reduce them. "I'm concerned about this issue," Cooper told the Observer. "Health care costs are high enough without artificial boosts that could come from lack of competition." Cooper's announcement comes in the wake of antitrust investigations into hospitals in other states. It also follows an Observer story showing large nonprofit hospitals are dramatically inflating prices on chemotherapy drugs at a time when they are cornering more of the market on cancer care. In a joint investigation published last month, the Observer and The News & Observer of Raleigh found hospitals are routinely marking up prices on cancer drugs two to 10 times over cost.