Pharma: Settlement in bellwether opioid case
Three major drug distributors and an opioid manufacturer reached a $260 million settlement hours before the start of a landmark federal trial this week, said Jan Hoffman in The New York Times. McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen agreed to pay $215 million to Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit Counties to settle a lawsuit that alleged the “companies had delivered highly suspicious quantities of opioids without reporting them to authorities.” Teva, an Israel-based drug manufacturer, agreed to pay $20 million and “donate $25 million worth of addiction-treatment drugs.” Walgreens, the remaining defendant, declined to settle and will face a separate trial.
China: Growth slows across the board
China’s economy in the third quarter grew at its slowest pace since 1992, said James Areddy in The Wall Street Journal. The country’s GDP growth rate decelerated from 6.2 percent in the second quarter to 6 percent in the most recent quarter, according to figures released last week, hitting a low “not seen since the current measure of GDP was adopted.” Growth cooled across the board, despite accelerated infrastructure investment “ahead of the Communist Party’s celebration of its 70th year in power.” The trade war is having an impact, but “Chinese growth has been on a downward trajectory for the past several years.”
Oil: Saudi state oil company postpones IPO again
Faced with lingering questions after the Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities and a slowing global economy, Saudi Aramco has again postponed plans for the largest-ever initial public offering, said Will Kennedy and Dinesh Nair in Bloomberg.com. Saudi Arabia’s hopes for a $2 trillion valuation for the state oil company, which produces 10 percent of the world’s crude, have met with investor skepticism. The delay likely means the Saudis won’t have a chance to sway money managers at the kingdom’s annual investment conference, nicknamed “Davos in the Desert.”
Commerce: Google starts drone delivery service
The country’s first working drone delivery service is now live in Virginia, said Andrew Hawkins in TheVerge.com. After getting certified by regulators this spring, Wing, a Google offshoot, began a trial last week with FedEx, Walgreens, and a local store to deliver “snacks and health-care products to residents of Christiansburg, Va.” The drones can fly at speeds up to 70 mph, and promise deliveries “within minutes of the orders being placed” to certain locations in the city of 21,000, though packages can’t be larger than an “oversized Happy Meal.”