Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:34 pm
That's the number the Federal Reserve Board's policymakers wanted to see this year. Having an annual inflation rate of 2 percent would confirm that the U.S. economy is strengthening — workers are getting raises and companies are seeing enough customer demand to mark up prices.
But the 2 percent target turned out to be too high.
Doctors talking up drugs to other doctors has been quite lucrative for pharmaceutical companies — and the physicians who moonlight as their salesmen.
Drugmakers learned long ago that deputized doctors were effective pitchmen. A doctor paid by a company to give a dinner speech or to chat over lunch with colleagues can go a long way toward changing their prescribing habits.
Today, one of the biggest drug companies in the world announced changes to its marketing practices. GlaxoSmithKline says the idea is to be more transparent about how it sells its drugs. Among the changes, the company will stop paying doctors to tout its products to other doctors.
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, the public interest community says this is a step in the right direction for an industry that's faced many legal problems.
If you want to understand the tension between tech workers in San Francisco, who often make six figures, and many of the city's other residents, try standing on the southwest corner of 24th Street and Valencia around 7:30 on a weekday morning.
Two decades ago, the strongest critics of the North American Free Trade Agreement were members of labor unions. They warned that the trade deal would mean the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and lower wages for U.S. workers.
Today, 20 years since NAFTA's passage, unions feel as strongly as ever that the deal was a bad idea.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 2:00 pm
Although most of the housing indicators have been looking up recently, there are still about 6.4 million homes with "underwater" mortgages, in which the homeowner owes the bank more than the house is worth.
According to the CoreLogic Equity Report, "nearly 6.4 million homes, or 13 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity at the end of the third quarter."
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 4:51 pm
President Obama just wrapped up a meeting with high-tech luminaries at the White House, focusing on an agenda of how to clean up HealthCare.gov, and how to stop the snooping by the National Security Agency from continuing to cast a pall over high-tech profits.
The group has a lot to discuss. On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the NSA's collection of millions of telephone records may be unconstitutional.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll talk about holiday parties - specifically, how to handle your business, whether you are with family, friends or colleagues; and equally important, how to handle people who might not know how to handle their own business. That's in just a few minutes.
NPR's business news starts with new rules for Glaxo.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: The head of British - the British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, told The New York Times yesterday that the company will stop paying doctors to promote its drugs. Pharmaceutical firms commonly pay physicians to speak at medical conferences - a practice criticized as a conflict of interest.
And today's last word in business is a Christmas con.
Just when we want to be thinking about generosity around the holidays, a story of extortion.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Police in Italy have arrested four alleged mafia gangsters for forcing shop owners to buy poinsettias for as much as $140 each. Owners who refused to partake in the Christmas special would have their shops vandalized.