According to John Hertig, associate director of the Center for Medication Safety at Purdue University’s College of Pharmacy, a generic drug and a brand name drug are chemically identical.
“We are talking about medications that are intended to do the same thing,” he says, and they can have the same adverse reactions.
Later this morning, the Supreme Court hears arguments in Mutual Pharmaceutical v. Bartlett, a case that could have big implications on the availability of generic drugs in the U.S.
In 2004, New Hampshire resident Karen Bartlett took a generic drug, which had some really horrible side effects. So, she sued the company that made it, arguing the drug was “defective.” A jury awarded her $21 million.
John Hertig says there are risks to every medication, and the side effects Bartlett experienced were part of the drug’s profile.
“So, this isn’t necessarily a defect of the drug,” he says. “It’s something that was known from the generic drug and the brand drug.”
Allison Hoffman, who teaches law at UCLA, says that if the Food and Drug Administration tells a company it can make a generic drug, that company makes the drug, “and it harms somebody, the question is, ‘Who should pay for that harm?’”
If it’s the drug maker, the company may decide it’s too risky and perhaps too costly to make it at all. If the drug maker is not liable, the company may have no incentive to pull a potentially dangerous drug off the market.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a ban on cigarette displays in stores. It’s the latest proposal aimed at making the Big Apple a little healthier, and it comes just a week after a judge struck down his proposed ban on the sale of some large sugary drinks.
“That’s not gonna avoid nothing,” says smoker Nathaniel Soto as he walks along Lexington Avenue, “people gonna smoke no matter what.”
But a few blocks away, at the 646 Deli, manager P M says he’d lose business, because hiding the smokes makes the buying process more cumbersome.
“There are lots of varieties, and people don’t know the names. Just like Marlboro, they have 20, 30 types varieties,” he says, "“It means you don’t sell as much."
Retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says P’s instincts are good -- even with something as addictive as cigarettes, product display and visibility are crucial:
“If you can’t see something, there’s gonna be less buying of it,” says Davidowitz.
Bloomberg’s plan will be reviewed by the New York City Council. Though there are similar laws in Iceland, Canada, England and Ireland, it would be a first in the U.S.
One potential loophole though, sellers would still be able to advertise cigarettes. So theoretically, they could hide their cigarettes...behind an ad for cigarettes.
Big credit card companies are strict about what they expect from merchants when it comes to protecting credit card data from hackers. When retailers sign up to use Visa or other cards, they agree to safeguard data in certain ways. And if they get hacked, the penalties can be heavy.
Now the Tennessee-based retail chain Genesco is suing Visa, saying the penalty it paid for a data breach was wrong. Genesco, the company behind shopping mall stalwarts Johnston and Murphy, Journeys, and Lids, argues that, while a hacking tool was found in their system, there is no evidence hackers actually accessed sensitive information.
Though strict security standards may benefit customers, credit card companies may have overstepped their role in issuing penalties, according to Kim Zetter, senior writer at Wired.
"They have taken on the position of a federal regulatory agency," says Zetter. "Generally what happens is a company gets hacked and there might be a class action lawsuit from the customers whose data was stolen, but in this case it’s the credit card companies, and they are making millions off of this."
The eurozone crisis -- after several months of quiet -- roared back to life yesterday thanks to a bailout plan for the small island nation of Cyprus. The plan, which propsed up to a 10 percent tax on bank deposits, was designed to calm markets and quell investor worries, but it had quite the opposite effect.
Sheila Bair, former chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), joins Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson to discuss the Cypriot bailout plan and whether such a levy could ever happen to U.S. depositors.
On the tax plan in Cyprus:
Bair: "It’s a classic case of hurting the little guy to bailout the big guy. This would never happen in the U.S. because we respect the rule of law and we have a very strong agency called the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that stands up for insured depositors and protects them. And so having not just a single deposit insurance that’s in place, but a strong agency handling that program and standing up for insured depositors -- I think that is really crucial and this really underscores why they need that in the eurozone.
I really think this is just a very, very bad decision which I hope is undone and I would like to think that the Europeans are finally working their way out of their problems. On the larger issue of whether private stakeholders in these banks should take losses, they absolutely should, but that should not extend down to insured depositors.”
On why the tax plan is worrying:
Bair: "It is absolutely destabilizing. I am first and foremost worried about those little guys and taking unfair haircuts on their insured deposits. But absolutely, it is destabilizing. If you are in southern Europe in sovereigns, they are still working through some of their fiscal problems, and you think you’ve got insured deposits, and now one country says, ‘Nope, sorry we are going to take a good percentage of your insured deposit anyway,’ it absolutely is going to hurt the confidence of the banks -- especially in that region. It is just -- I could not say enough bad things about it.
On the U.S. FDIC’s extraordinary measures during the 2008 financial crisis:
Bair: "It was absolutely essential. The banks that were relying on wholesale funding, the banks were borrowing from other financial institutions, their funding dried up. The big institutions didn’t have any confidence in each other, they wouldn’t lend to each other. But, you know, mainstream Americans left their deposits in the banks. And they left their deposits in the banks because they knew the FDIC was going to take care of them if that bank failed. And that was what kept our system going.
Europe should be looking at strengthening their deposit insurance systems not undermining confidence in them by haircutting insured depositors, and not take measures like this that are not only grossly unfair and undermine the rule of law, but it could have potentially destabilizing effects."
2012 was a good year for the travel industry. Airline consolidation has allowed carriers to cut costs, boost efficiencies and raise fares. The same could be said for industries farther down the food chain…think luggage.
At Passport Luggage and Gifts at the St. Louis Galleria mall, Scott Ford has got his sales pitch down.
"What we've got is a poly-carb bag, it is in a black matte, it's got a 4-wheel system on it," he says. Ford is the store's manager and he's showing off a medium-sized carry-on made by the German company Rimowa. It cost's $525.
"People are not only buying it, it's doing very very well," Ford says.
Ford's store is doing so well it just opened a second location. After years of cutbacks, he says people appear to be traveling again. And the numbers back him up, says David Huether, a senior vice president for research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association.
"When you have, as you have now, travel increasing to an all-time high in 2013, it does have positive spillover effects," says Huether. While domestic travel has been rising, Huether says the real driver of the industry is emerging markets like China, India and Brazil.
"The importance of the emerging markets really can't be overstated with respect to the travel industry," Huether says.
In terms of growth, Asia generated a full third of luggage-maker Samsonite's sales in 2010. That prompted Samsonite to float its IPO's on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, to be closer to one of its main customers.
Pope Francis thrilled tens of thousands of people on Tuesday gathered for his installation Mass. He took a long round-about through St. Peter's Square and got out of his jeep to bless a disabled man.
When Cyprus announced it would be seizing a percentage of all savings accounts in the country, people hightailed it to ATM machines to pull out as much cash as they could. Is this the first sign of a run on Cyprus banks?
Bank runs usually start with a panic that causes a large number of account holders to try to withdraw their funds all at once. Most people have never experienced a run on their bank. Maybe you've seen old black and white Depression photos of people lined up outside a bank to withdraw their money.
"When that happens to any bank, that bank is in trouble," says Alex Pollock, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Pollock was a bank officer at Continental Illinois in 1985 when a run on that bank caused its failure. It was the largest bank failure in United States history until 2008.
Pollock says you shouldn't think of your deposits as physically being in the bank, because they're not. The bank keeps some of the money, but most of it gets lent out to other customers.
That's why banks can't handle large numbers of depositors withdrawing their money -- their loans to the bank -- all at once. On paper the banks have your money, but only in the form of loan guaranties. In 1933, the FDIC was created to insure all that money that banks have on paper, but not in their vaults.