- - Sunday, January 8, 2012


Swiss company recalls U.S. drugs

GENEVA — Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis said Sunday it was recalling four different products sold over the counter in the United States over reports of a malfunction at one of its plants.

The affected drugs are Excedrin, NoDoz, Bufferin and Gas-X Prevention, Novartis Consumer Health said in a statement.

“NCH is taking this action as a precautionary measure, because the products may contain stray tablets, capsules, or caplets from other Novartis products, or contain broken or chipped tablets,” it said.

“Mixing of different products in the same bottle could result in consumers taking the incorrect product and receiving a higher or lower strength than intended or receiving an unintended ingredient.

“This could potentially result in overdose, interaction with other medications a consumer may be taking, or an allergic reaction if the consumer is allergic to the unintended ingredient.”

The group stressed however that it was not aware of adverse effects among the affected products’ consumers.

The plant in Lincoln, Neb., where the products are manufactured was shut down last month and Novartis said improvements were being carried out there.


Boston Globe, Herald strike distribution deal

BOSTON — The Boston Herald has reached a deal with the rival Boston Globe to print and distribute its editions in the Boston area as the tabloid daily plans to lay off about 50 drivers and other personnel.

The newspapers announced Sunday that the arrangement will start Jan. 23. Financial terms haven’t been disclosed.

All other business functions of the newspapers will remain separate, including newsgathering.

Herald publisher Patrick Purcell says the arrangement makes financial sense and lets the newspapers “serve our readers and advertisers with a distinct voice.”

The Herald says the arrangement saves about 30 other jobs.

Globe publisher Christopher Mayer calls it “an advantageous business opportunity,” particularly since the distribution areas overlap. A Globe subsidiary already distributes some copies of the Herald.


IRS estimate: 17% of taxes owed went unpaid

The Internal Revenue Service is estimating that people and businesses underpaid their taxes by $450 billion in the most recent year studied.

That means they failed to send in 17 percent of the taxes they actually owed.

The data is for 2006, the most recent tax year for which data is available. The IRS estimates it was owed nearly $2.7 trillion in taxes that year.

After IRS audits and other enforcement efforts, noncompliance shrank to 14 percent, leaving the final amount of unpaid taxes at $385 billion.

That’s bigger than the budget deficit that year, which was $248 billion.

The portion of unpaid taxes in 2006 was similar to 2001, the last year the IRS had examined.


Growth spreads to higher-paying industries

Most of the job growth in 2011 was concentrated in industries that tend to pay low wages and skimpy benefits. But toward the end of the year, and especially in December, hiring became broader-based and included more higher-paying jobs.

That trend bodes well for the economy if it holds up.

“It’s clear that the skilled end of the labor market has heated up,” said Paul Ballew, chief economist at Nationwide.

Two-thirds of the 1.6 million jobs created last year were in five industries: health care; hotels and restaurants; retail; manufacturing; and temporary help. Except for manufacturing, most of the jobs in those sectors don’t pay a lot.

Average hourly wages in the leisure and hospitality industry, made up mostly of hotel and restaurant workers, was $13.31 in December, for example. That compares with $23.93 in manufacturing. Average hourly retail pay was $15.97.


Largest casinos lose $4 billion in 2011

CARSON CITY — Nevada’s largest casinos suffered a combined $4 billion loss in 2011.

A report released Friday by the state Gaming Control Board shows 256 casinos grossed $1 million or more in gambling revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Combined, they had total revenue of $22 billion and posted a net loss of $3.9 billion from the previous year.

In 2010, the largest casinos had a net loss of $3.4 billion on total revenues of almost $20.9 billion.

Total revenue includes money spent by patrons on gambling, rooms, food, beverages and attractions.

The report says revenue from gamblers accounted for nearly $10.2 billion, or 46 percent, of total revenue.

Casinos paid $792 million in taxes and fees, equating to 7.8 percent of gambling revenue.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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