Business Briefs – March 13, 2019

Fiat Chrysler Recalling Nearly 900,000 Vehicles On Emissions

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fiat Chrysler is voluntarily recalling 862,520 vehicles in the U.S. because they don’t meet the country’s emission standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency says that the recall is the result of in-use emissions investigations it performed and in-use testing conducted by Fiat Chrysler as required by EPA regulations.

The vehicles involved in the recall include 2011-2016 Dodge Journey front wheel drive, 2011-2014 Chrysler 200 /Dodge Avenger front wheel drive, 2011-2012 Dodge Caliber front wheel drive continuously variable transmission and 2011-2016 Jeep Compass/Patriot front wheel drive continuously variable transmission.

The EPA said Wednesday that it will continue to investigate other Fiat Chrysler vehicles that are potentially non-compliant and may become the subject of future recalls.

U.K. Review Urges New Rules to Deal With Power of Tech Giants

LONDON (AP) – A review of competition in the U.K.’s digital market says the country needs tough new rules to help counter the dominance of big tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon. The independent review published Wednesday says global tech giants don’t face enough competition and that existing rules are outdated and need to be beefed up.

Gluten, Lactose in Drugs? Study Raises Questions About Risk

WASHINGTON (AP) – A new report says pills can have extra ingredients like gluten, lactose or allergy-triggering dyes that may cause problems for certain patients. Boston researchers began studying so-called “inactive” ingredients after a patient with celiac disease who’s supposed to avoid gluten received a prescription drug containing it. The extra ingredients are safe for most people, but Wednesday’s report says more information is needed to help patients who need to avoid certain compounds.

With Lawsuits Looming, OxyContin Maker Considers Bankruptcy

WASHINGTON (AP) – The company that has made billions selling OxyContin says it is considering bankruptcy protection, among other legal options, as trial dates for opioid lawsuits get closer. Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma is being sued by well over 1,000 state and local governments that allege it aggressively sold the drug as less addictive despite knowing it carried major risks. The bankruptcy filing could change the course of the lawsuits.

UnitedHealth Group Expands Prescription Drug Discount Program

(Star Tribune) – UnitedHealth Group said it is expanding a program to provide consumer discounts at the pharmacy counter via rebates from drug manufacturers — rebates that have been labeled by the Trump administration as a driver of high medication costs.

Drug companies have long provided rebates to pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs) that administer the drug benefit portion of employer health plans. UnitedHealth Group, based in Minnetonka, Minn., runs the nation’s largest health insurer. It says these rebates in the past have been passed to employers so they could decide whether to direct the savings to individuals or use them against overall health plan costs.

Trump Says U.S. Is in ‘Very Good Position’ on Trade With China

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday dangled the prospect of walking away from a trade deal with China if it’s not to his liking, just as he cut short his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un when the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

Mr. Trump spoke on the state of negotiations with China shortly before meeting with Republican senators on trade issues.

He spoke optimistically of the U.S. and China being able to reach an agreement, declaring that “China has not been doing well. We’ve been doing unbelievably well.”

But Trump also seemed to hark back to last month’s summit when asked whether he preferred that the two parties work out a trade deal before he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping or whether he’d prefer to work out the final details with Xi. Trump said he preferred the latter option.

He cautioned that “President Xi saw that I’m somebody who believes in walking when a deal is not done.”