FDA Knocking Off Drug Prices by Encouraging Knock-Offs

By: Whitney Hosey *| Staff Writer

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Traditionally, the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) role in pharmaceuticals is to ensure that products are safe and effective. Now, in response to public backlash against increasing complex drug prices, the FDA is taking a more active approach to drug prices and accessibility. The FDA is authorized to deal with matters which concern public health, however, it is expanding that definition to include increased access to more affordable life-saving drugs, in the form of generic versions of the existing medications. While the FDA is not engaging in price fixing, the new measures released in October 2017 will, according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, help increase competition in the market by encouraging companies to invest in making generic versions of these medications.

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It Is a Dog’s World and We Are Paying for It

By:  Maureen Gallagher *| Staff Writer

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The apps are at it again, and they are out for your money – the money you throw at your dogs that is. Styled as Ubers for dog walking and sitting, startups like Wag! and Rover provide a convenient platform to facilitate the exchange of cash between dog watcher and dog owner, all for a nice commission. Sensing a lucrative area ripe for development, venture capitalists have “poured more than $200 million into Wag and Rover combined.” Wag! promises “on-demand access to experienced dog handlers in your community you can hire for dog walking, dog sitting, or dog boarding 7-days a week.” Dog owners can track their dog’s walk via GPS and receive a report card and photo for the average price of $20 a walk.

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U.S. Senate Speeds Up Self-Driving Car Legislation

By: Gabriela Mejias *| Staff Writer

By Driving_Google_Self-Driving_Car.jpg: Steve Jurvetsonderivative work: Mariordo - This file was derived fromDriving Google Self-Driving Car.jpg:, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23386014

By Driving_Google_Self-Driving_Car.jpg: Steve Jurvetsonderivative work: Mariordo – This file was derived fromDriving Google Self-Driving Car.jpg:, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23386014

Self-driving cars, once a futuristic idea, are now becoming a reality. With Tesla, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), General Motors, and Uber all working on self-driving car technology, it is only a matter of time before autonomous cars become mainstream. To help expedite this process, the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved a bill addressing the roll-out of self-driving cars. The bill is called the American Vision of Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act, or the AV Start Act. Under the AV Start Act, automakers can obtain exemptions from safety rules that require cars to have human-controls. The entire Senate must vote on the bill but is expected to give it the thumbs up.

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Amazon’s Inescapable Tax Liability

By: Jamie Burchette *| Staff Writer

By User:Verdy p, User:-xfi-, User:Paddu, User:Nightstallion, User:Funakoshi, User:Jeltz, User:Dbenbenn, User:Zscout370 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By User:Verdy p, User:-xfi-, User:Paddu, User:Nightstallion, User:Funakoshi, User:Jeltz, User:Dbenbenn, User:Zscout370 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Amazon is an innovative and successful company which boasted a pretax income of $3.89 billion in 2016. Yet, the government always takes its cut. The United States has a corporate income tax rate of approximately 38.91% and the average corporate tax rate in Europe is 18.35%. In 2016, Amazon paid $1.43 billion in corporate income taxes. When trying to find a way to cut expenses and increase profits, taxes make for a tempting opportunity. There are legal ways to mitigate the cost of taxes, but Amazon went too far and is now facing the consequences. Countless celebrities and even mobsters have suffered under the might of taxes. Now, it is Amazon’s turn.

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Will Big Oil Lawsuits Go Up in Smoke?

By: Greg Volk *| Staff Writer

By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

These days United States governmental policy on carbon emissions is – like the climate itself according to broad scientific consensus – in a state of significant change. After the Obama administration struggled to implement rules aimed at reducing carbon emissions, a chief cause of human-induced climate change, the Trump administration is trying equally as hard to undo them. Perhaps that is why some state and local governments are taking matters into their own hands.

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Round Two: FDA Approves Pfizer’s Previously Withdrawn Cancer Drug

By: Gabriela Mejias *| Staff Writer

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By The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Inspecting a Drug Manufacturer (FDA034)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The FDA recently approved a new version of a previously withdrawn drug for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Mylotarg, produced by Pfizer, Inc., was voluntarily withdrawn from the market in 2010 after studies showed the drug failed to provide clinical benefits and carried certain safety concerns, such as a high number of deaths.

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A Hack a Day Keeps Cybersecurity at Bay: The SEC and Cybercrime

By: Emily Marcum *| Staff Writer

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What do a consulting firm, a regulatory agency, and a consumer credit reporting bureau have in common? They are all members of the financial industry who recently fell victim to hacking. In the past month, hackers have successfully stolen sensitive information from the SEC, Equifax, and Deloitte. Although these three hacks varied in scope and severity, together they illuminate the “Achilles’ heel” of the financial industry, cybersecurity! Targeting the financial industry is an obvious choice. When asked why he robbed banks, the infamous American bank robber, Willie Sutton, said it best, “Because that’s where the money is.”

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Can You Sue Your Boss? U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Validity of Class-Action Waivers and Arbitration Clauses

By: Gabriela Mejias *| Staff Writer

By AgnosticPreachersKid, CC-BY-SA-4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Supreme_Court_Building.JPG

By AgnosticPreachersKid, CC-BY-SA-4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Supreme_Court_Building.JPG

The U.S. Supreme Court opened its new term by hearing arguments in a major employment dispute case that has the potential to affect millions of employment contracts. Justices heard oral arguments from three consolidated cases, involving Ernst & Young LLP, a professional services firm, Murphy Oil USA, Inc., a gas station operator, and Epic Systems Corp., a healthcare software company. The issue at the center of the cases is this: Can employment agreements prohibit workers from joining together to bring class action suits in overtime pay and other labor disputes, and instead force employees into private arbitration? Employers, as well as the Trump administration, claim they can, while the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and employees argue that such contracts threaten workers’ right to organize.

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Equifax or Equihacks?

By: Emily Marcum *| Staff Writer

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Cybersecurity is not the next frontier for most businesses; in fact, it’s more or less the only game in town. Over the last decade, the phrase “cybersecurity” has echoed in boardrooms, courtrooms, and living rooms like never before. What was once intellectual chatter, has become a “fact of life for corporations and governments.” According to U.S. President, Donald Trump, “Cyber theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States by far.”  So, it is no surprise that consumers were recently greeted with yet another disappointing headline concerning Equifax’s massive data breach.

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Fair Trade? Brands Play by Their Own Rules

By: Greg Volk *| Staff Writer

By Photo by Medicaster. (en:Image:Cocoa Pods.JPG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Medicaster. (en:Image:Cocoa Pods.JPG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Fair trade” may once have seemed like only a wonkish policy buzzword, but today it is a possible predictor of political affiliation, a “Portlandia” punchline, and, perhaps most significantly, big business. Amazon recently paid $13.7 billion for Whole Foods, whose entire store has been called “effectively fair trade.” Consumers have been increasingly willing to pay higher prices for sustainably-sourced products, but there are signs that growth among cost-conscious consumers may be slowing and companies are reacting. After years of explosive growth, sales of Fairtrade-certified products fell for the first time in 2014. Fair trade certifications cost money. That is exactly the point.

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