- - Sunday, July 29, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — Twenty-nine states have reached a $151 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging one of the country’s largest drug wholesalers inflated prices for hundreds of prescription drugs, officials said Friday.

The agreement with San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. settles allegations that the company deliberately inflated drug prices by as much as 25 percent, causing the states’ Medicaid programs to overpay millions of dollars in reimbursements.

An investigation by state and federal agencies found that McKesson inflated the prices of more than 1,400 brand-name drugs, including these commonly prescribed medications such as Adderall, Allegra, Ambien, Celexa, Lipitor, Neurontin, Prevacid, Prozac and Ritalin, officials said.

Smartphone battle set for court

SAN FRANCISCO — Two tech titans are squaring off in federal court Monday in a closely watched trial over control of the U.S. smartphone and computer tablet markets.

Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co. last year alleging the world’s largest technology company’s smartphones and computer tablets are illegal knockoffs of its popular iPhone and iPad products. The Cupertino-based company is demanding $2.5 billion in damages, which if awarded would dwarf the largest patent-related verdict to date.

Samsung counters that Apple is doing the stealing and some of the technology at issue — such as the rounded rectangular designs of smartphones and tablets — have been industry standards for years.

The U.S. trial is only the latest skirmish between the two over product designs.

RHODE ISLAND

224-year-old general store closes doors

LITTLE COMPTON — Gray’s Store in Rhode Island brought in customers for years with its old-fashioned marble soda fountain, cigar and tobacco cases, and Rhode Island johnny cakes.

The 224-year-old business in Little Compton possibly was the oldest operating general store in America, although others have staked similar claims. The store near the Massachusetts line opened in 1788 closed Sunday.

Owner Jonah Waite inherited the shop after his father died last month. He said it was a hard decision to close the store and leave behind all the history, but the shop’s finances aren’t sustainable and a supermarket down the street has siphoned away business.

In 2007, Rhode Island leaders proclaimed Gray’s the oldest continuously run general store in the country.

SOUTH KOREA

2 South Koreans arrestedin phone-hacking scheme

SEOUL — South Korean police say they have arrested two men who allegedly stole the personal information of about 8 million cellphone customers in one of the country’s biggest hacking schemes.

Police said in a statement Sunday that the two men developed a hacking program and stole the names, residential registration numbers and phone contract details of customers of mobile carrier KT Corp.

Police said the two made about $877,000 by selling the information to telemarketing companies which subsequently used the details to contact customers to solicit them to switch to other mobile operators.

They said seven other people who allegedly bought and distributed the hacking program and the stolen personal data have also been booked without physical detention.

KT Corp. wasn’t immediately available for comment Sunday.

JPMORGAN

Management shake-upat JPMorgan; Zames is COO

NEW YORK — JPMorgan Chase, which is reeling from the fallout of a big trading loss at one of its divisions, announced a broad reshuffling of its top management Friday.

It was the second round of management reorganization at the nation’s largest bank since it revealed the loss that has ballooned to up to $5.8 billion from an initial estimate of $2 billion. The loss has prompted two congressional hearings and led to investigations from international regulators.

The loss has also come to represent the risky bets taken at large banks that can jeopardize the global financial system, barely four years after the financial crisis that hurtled the country into the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

It was also viewed as a glaring example of how difficult it is to run a large bank with large far flung businesses. It has led to calls to break up the big banks and also for the resignation of CEO Jamie Dimon, who up until then had built a reputation as a steady leader. Mr. Dimon initially called the trade a “tempest in a teapot,” before backtracking and revealing the scope of losses and apologizing several times for his mischaracterization.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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