Business Briefs – September 21, 2016

Mylan CEO Defends EpiPen Cost to Angry Lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) – Outraged lawmakers grilled the head of pharmaceutical company Mylan on Wednesday about the cost increase for EpiPens and the profits for a company.

CEO Heather Bresch said that she wishes the company had “better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration” of the rising prices for some families. But maintained that her company doesn’t make much profit from each emergency allergy shot.

The price for EpiPens has grown to $608 for a two-pack, an more than 500 percent increase since 2007. Lawmakers say families struggling to pay for the shots have every right to be angry at Mylan.

Tesla Updates Software To Improve Radar

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla Motors customers will get enhanced radar and other features in an over-the-air software update that starts Wednesday night.

The update makes the Model S sedan and Model X SUV rely more reliant on radar than cameras when driving in Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. Teslas made after October 2014 have radar.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the change should help avoid crashes like the one that killed a Tesla driver in Florida in May. That driver — who was using Autopilot — crashed into a tractor-trailer that Tesla’s camera failed to detect.

1,400 Investor Lawsuits Seek 8.2 Billion Euros From VW

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – A German court says it has been flooded with1,400 investor lawsuits against Volkswagen seeking damages worth 8.2 billion euros ($9.2 billion).

The regional court in Braunschweig said Wednesday that 750 lawsuits arrived on Monday alone from a single law office as a possible one-year deadline to file approached. The court said the Volkswagen investor lawsuits equaled about half of its normal intake for an entire year.

Investors claim Volkswagen did not disclose in a timely way that it faced costly action from U.S. regulators over cars with software that enabled them to cheat on diesel emissions tests.

SEC Accuses Hedge Fund Manager Cooperman of Insider Trading

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal regulators have accused high-profile hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman and his firm of illegally trading on confidential information he learned from a company executive.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the civil insider-trading charges Wednesday against Cooperman and his firm, Omega Advisors. The SEC also alleged that Cooperman tried to cover up the misconduct.

The SEC indicated it was sending a message that well known and wealthy people aren’t exempt from its efforts to pursue insider trading.

Cooperman’s attorneys said the allegations are “entirely baseless.”

U.S. Grants Airbus, Boeing A Chance to Sell Airplanes to Iran

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The U.S. government granted aviation giants Airbus and Boeing permission on Wednesday to sell aircraft to Iran following last year’s nuclear accord.

European airplane manufacturer Airbus announced the license from the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control early Wednesday. Chicago-based Boeing followed with its own announcement later in the day.

The approval clears the way for the two plane manufacturers to access one of the last untapped aviation markets in the world.

UK Report Say Hiring At Some Firms on Hold Post-Brexit

LONDON (AP) – A new Bank of England survey suggests some businesses are freezing both investment and hiring in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, with broadly flat levels of spending in the next six months to a year.

The so-called agents’ summary of business conditions revealed that in some sectors, such as commercial real estate, “all non-essential recruitment had been frozen.” But the bank says businesses were more optimistic following the initial shock of the vote.

Allan Monks, economist at JP Morgan, says the report suggests an impact that over time “will still have significant adverse economic implications.”

Interim Viacom CEO To Leave, Dividend Slashed

NEW YORK (AP) – Viacom says interim CEO Tom Dooley will leave Nov. 15 and the company is cutting its dividend in half.

Dooley was installed after its prior CEO Philippe Dauman was pushed out in August as part of a settlement with National Amusements, a private company that holds controlling stakes in both Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp.