Business Briefs – January 18, 2018

Hospital Groups Creating Company To Make Cheap Generic Drugs

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Several major not-for-profit hospital groups are trying their own solution to drug shortages and high medicine prices: creating a company to make cheaper generic drugs. The plan, announced Thursday, follows years of shortages of generic injected medicines that are the workhorses of hospitals, along with some huge price increases for once-cheap generic drugs.

Tax Law Gives Unexpected Break To Farmers Who Sell to Co-ops

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Key senators and farm groups are trying to fix a provision slipped into the federal tax overhaul that gave an unexpected tax break to farmers who sell their crops to cooperatives instead of private buyers. Observers say it’s not clear yet whether a fix can pass, given the partisan divide on Capitol Hill. The provision was added in the final days of debate over the tax bill.

Exports, Consumers Drive China’s 6.9 Percent Growth In 2017

HONG KONG (AP) – China’s economy gained steam in 2017, expanding at a 6.9 percent annual pace in its first year-on-year increase since 2010. Buoyant consumer spending and robust exports helped drive the faster expansion, helping the China’s economy defy expectations of weaker growth in the latter half of the year due to Beijing’s curbs on bank lending. The data released Thursday beat economists’ forecasts for the world’s second largest economy.

China Expresses Doubts Over Credibility, Objectivity of U.S. Report on Fake Goods

BEIJING& (Reuters) – China’s Commerce Ministry expressed doubts on Thursday over the credibility and objectivity of the United States annual blacklist of markets for sales of fake goods.

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) recently issued its annual list of the world’s most “notorious markets” for sales of pirated and counterfeit goods.

The USTR has put Alibaba’s Taobao on its blacklist for the second year in a row over suspected counterfeits sold on its shopping platform, a move the Chinese e-commerce giant said did not reflect its IP-protection efforts.

The report lacks solid evidence, Gao Feng, a spokesman of China’s Commerce Ministry, told a briefing, adding that the Chinese government always attaches great importance to intellectual property protection.

IBM Reports First Revenue Growth Since 2012

NEW YORK (AP) – IBM reported its first quarter of revenue growth in more than five years as the company ramps up its cloud computing business and looks for new opportunities from its investments in artificial intelligence.

But the company still reported a quarterly loss of $1.05 billion, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier.

The technology and consulting company posted revenue of $22.54 billion in the period, which topped Wall Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $21.96 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of $5.75 billion, or $6.14 per share. Revenue was reported as $79.14 billion.

Blood Test to Detect 8 Cancers Early Gives Promising Results

(AP) – Scientists are reporting progress on a blood test to detect many types of cancer at an early stage, including some of the most deadly ones that lack screening tools now.

Many groups are working on liquid biopsy tests, which look for DNA and other things that tumors shed into blood, to try to find cancer before it spreads, when chances of cure are best.

In a study Thursday in the journal Science, Johns Hopkins University scientists looked to see how well their experimental test detected cancer in people already known to have the disease. The blood tests found about 70 percent of eight common types of cancer in the 1,005 patients. The rates varied depending on the type.