Marketplace | KERA News

Marketplace

Weekdays at 6:30 p.m.
  • Hosted by Kai Ryssdal

Business, the economy, personal finance, Wall Street, and more.

(U.S. Edition) The House and Senate are trying to bolt their tax plans together amid pressure from the White House to get this done before Christmas. We'll take a look at where both chambers stand after negotiations last night. Afterwards, we'll talk to Marketplace producer Caitlin Esch about the opioid crisis as part of our "Uncertain Hour" podcast. Between 1995 and 2015 alone, 300,000 people died from overdoses involving OxyContin and other opioids.

12/13/2017: Evolution in entertainment

5 hours ago

(Global edition) From the BBC World Service … A major deal is underway in the media industry with 21st Century Fox in talks to sell its entertainment assets to Disney. We explain what that means for customers worldwide. And a more than three-decade ban on commercial cinemas is coming to an end in Saudi Arabia. We chat with a filmmaker in the region who says the move will create a Saudi film industry that could change the entire culture there. 

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether to eliminate net neutrality rules. Those regulations were created under the Obama administration, and prevent internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast from favoring certain content over others. The current FCC says companies should be able to do what they like, as long as they are transparent about it. This is controversial, and the public comment system on the FCC’s proposed rules was overtaken by spam and fake accounts.

How one sentence helped set off the opioid crisis

8 hours ago

OxyContin went to market in 1996 with a campaign by Purdue Pharma that suggested a less abusable drug, one that doctors could prescribe for moderate pain, in addition to severe pain.

At the center of the company’s marketing aimed at physicians was a single sentence in OxyContin’s original label:

“Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.”

S02-4: The sentence that helped set off the opioid crisis

8 hours ago

When OxyContin went to market in 1996, sales reps from Purdue Pharma hit one point particularly hard: Compared to other prescription opioids, this new painkiller was believed to be less likely to be addictive or abused.

But recently unsealed documents in this investigative episode shed light on how the maker of OxyContin seems to have relied more on focus groups than on scientific studies to create an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that helped fuel the national opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma spokesman Robert Josephson provided Marketplace with this statement in response to questions from The Uncertain Hour about OxyContin, the company, and its relationship with the FDA. The company's responses are published in full below.

Purdue Pharma L.P. Response
December 12, 2017

1. Why did Purdue not do any clinical studies to back up the “delayed absorption” sentence?

FDA statement on The Uncertain Hour's OxyContin episode

9 hours ago

FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum provided Marketplace with this statement in response to The Uncertain Hour's investigation into the agency and Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. 

The Treasury Department's tax plan analysis is one page long. Really.

18 hours ago

Republicans may be close to an agreement on a final tax bill, but nobody knows for sure. What we do know, however, is that the GOP is not a fan of nonpartisan analysis that shows the bill would add at least $1 trillion to the national debt without spurring the kind of growth needed to offset that figure. The executive branch finally weighed in with its own analysis of sorts in the form a one-page summary released by the Treasury Department. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal discussed it with Ben White, chief economics correspondent at Politico.

Robert Johnson and Tanisha Asamu sat knee to knee, gazing into each other’s eyes.

“I appreciate your patience, because I know I’m not always the easiest person to deal with,” Johnson said.

“I appreciate how important family is to you, including us, of course,” Asamu said back.

It was not the most romantic setting — a conference room at the Center for Urban Families, a social services organization in Baltimore. The exercise was part of a class designed to help low-income couples raising children build more solid relationships.

Nearly three months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, recovery is still slowly underway on the island. And underneath it all, one question persists — what to do about the island’s debt. At one point President Donald Trump said it would have to be wiped out … the White House then downplayed that statement. But in a new opinion piece in the Washington Post. a trio of academics, including Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, say they've crunched the numbers and that in fact, Puerto Rico has no capacity to make any debt payments in the next 10 years.

Westfield mall owner agrees to sale

18 hours ago

Europe's largest commercial landlord, Unibail-Rodamco, announced plans today to buy the Westfield Corp. for almost $16 billion. Westfield is an Australian company that has 35 mostly upscale malls in prime locations across the United States and United Kingdom. But even the firms behind some of America's best-performing malls are feeling the pressure from online retailers like Amazon. So their owners are consolidating to survive. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act today. It calls for around $700 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2018. That would blow right through the spending caps Congress agreed to back in 2011. Congress has to vote to modify those caps, if it wants to spend this much money on defense. And it’s not clear Republican leaders have the votes to do that.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

In the aftermath of CVS’ $69 billion deal to buy health insurance giant Aetna, the company wants to turn its MinuteClinics into health care hubs where people can get even more of their basic needs met. But what would it take for this to happen? And since we can’t go one day without talking taxes, we discuss the Treasury Department’s one-page analysis of the bill with Politico’s Ben White.

When child care worker Kimberly Nunez woke up one morning with her eye swollen from a sty, she called her doctor. 

“The doctor wasn’t in that day,” she recalled. “When I called they just told me to go to urgent care or somewhere where they could handle it.”

Nunez decided her best option was a CVS MinuteClinic in Philadelphia.

“No calling, no nothing. Easy. It’s very convenient. It’s always a second option,” she said.

CVS is hoping its latest move will make it a first option for more consumers.

An impossible race, and why Italians love this particular shade of red

23 hours ago

In her new book, "The Secret Lives of Color," Kassia St. Clair chronicles the origin stories of a rainbow of colors, dyes and shades. In this occasional series, we'll highlight some of the hues featured in her book and the unusual stories behind them. Today, she tells the story of how rosso corsa, a particular shade of red, came to be Italy's national racing color.

The race to fill Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat is about to come to an end. Sessions was sworn in as the new attorney general at the beginning of February. Today Alabama voters will choose his replacement. The two candidates — Democrat Doug Jones and Republicans Roy Moore — have spent the last few months on the campaign trail and have remained tied in the polls till the very end.

12/12/2017: The great Amazon-Walmart rivalry

Dec 12, 2017

(Markets Edition) Lawmakers are meeting tomorrow in the hopes of reconciling the House and Senate versions of the tax bill. We'll recap some of their key differences, which include controversy over state and local tax deductions. Afterwards, we'll discuss why stores still see a need for glossy catalogs, and then look at where both Amazon and Walmart stand in the retail war.

It's striking just how unpopular the tax overhaul has become.

Taxes aren’t the only topic under debate in Congress right now. Today a committee in the House takes up a comprehensive bill to rewrite the federal Higher Education Act. The process is expected to take months … and could affect everything from how students pay for college to campus free speech.   

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

(U.S. Edition) Not many people are on board with the GOP's plan to overhaul the tax system. Less than a third of Americans like it, according to several polls —  including one from Reuters. But there is one group that's excited about it: small businesses. Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, explains why. Afterwards, we'll look at how countries outside of the U.S. are reacting to the plan. Germany, the U.K., France, Spain and Italy say parts of the emerging tax plan could violate World Trade Organization rules.

Holiday catalogs boost online sales

Dec 12, 2017

Most of us do our holiday shopping online, but those catalogs keep coming. That’s because stores see a role for the glossy catalogs.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

(Global Edition) From BBC World Service … Two years after the Paris climate accord was signed, how much progress has been made? French President Emmanuel Macron thinks President Trump will bring the U.S. back into the deal. Influential think-thank The Rand Corporation is predicting any break with the European Union will hurt the British economy. But they say there is one outlying scenario which could bring benefits to the U.K., EU and the U.S. Plus: Would you like to receive $665 per month for doing absolutely nothing?

The FCC is poised to overturn net neutrality this week. One possible alternative to get online? Municipal broadband. San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston are all looking into it as an alternative to traditional internet providers. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Christopher Mitchell, director of Community Broadband Networks for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for sustainable community development, about how city-provided internet would work. Below is an edited portion of their conversation.

The FCC is poised to overturn net neutrality this week. Part of that conversation is about competition – what if an internet provider becomes too expensive or provides poor service? San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston are promising municipal broadband as an alternative. What would that look like and how much would it cost? On this episode of Marketplace Tech, Molly Wood talks with Christopher Mitchell, director of Community Broadband Networks for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for sustainable community development.

12/11/17: Such a bubblicious economy

Dec 11, 2017

We’ve all heard bitcoin is volatile, risky, quite possibly a bubble. So why then the demand for bitcoin futures? We take a look at what happened during yesterday’s bitcoin futures trading launch. And in Saudi Arabia, a ban on movie theaters has been lifted, ushering in what is predicted to be a $24 billion cinema industry to offset the economy’s dependence on oil.

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced 21 new places to be deemed Superfund sites, areas with toxic pollution around the country. Being added to the Superfund list means federal officials oversee the cleanup. Yet the White House budget proposal includes a 30 percent cut for the Superfund program.

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on movie theaters

Dec 11, 2017

The announcement, made today, ends a ban that dates back to the 1980s. Saudis will be able to go out to the movies as soon as next year. It’s all part of a push by the Saudi royal family to diversify the economy away from oil.

President Donald Trump is killing regulations with a caveat — many are already dead. In a meeting with House Republicans last month, the president said: “In the history of our country, no president, during their entire term, has cut more regulations than we’ve cut." But according to Alan Levin of Bloomberg, the president is exaggerating.

Bringing regulation to cryptocurrency

Dec 11, 2017

Bitcoin’s wild ride is getting even wilder. Yesterday saw the launch of bitcoin futures, trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Interest was so high it nearly crashed the CBOE website and the exchange briefly halted trading a couple of times after the price jumped erratically. So, we’ve all heard bitcoin is volatile, risky, maybe a bubble. So why then the demand for bitcoin futures? 

Medical school students today are trained to diagnose complicated diseases, but they are rarely trained to engineer the solutions themselves. To change that, soon Texas A&M University will start training doctors and nurses to also be engineers.

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