Cardinal Health Inc. has agreed to resolve charges that it illegally monopolized 25 local markets for the sale and distribution of low-energy radiopharmaceuticals and forced hospitals and clinics to pay inflated prices for these drugs, the Federal Trade Commission announced today. The agency said the proposed order requires the company to pay $26.8 million to a fund for distribution to injured customers, and includes provisions to prevent future violations and restore competition in six markets. The complaint charges that Cardinal Health, which owns the nation’s largest chain of radiopharmacies, violated the FTC Act by blocking or delaying the entry of competition in the 25 markets. Due to the short half-life of the radioactive isotopes used in low-energy radiopharmaceuticals, hospitals and clinics rely on local radiopharmacies for these drugs, which are used to diagnose heart disease and other conditions, the agency said.