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September 22nd, 2018

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Leading Economic Indicators

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published May 24, 2017

Leading Economic Indicators

In 2001, Questcor Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to make Acthar Gel, a hormone injection to treat a rare form of infantile epilepsy, and gradually raised the price from $40 a vial to $28,000 a vial. The British company Mallinckrodt bought Questcor in 2014 and apparently figured the vials were still too cheap, raising the price to $34,000. However, the Federal Trade Commission noticed that Mallinckrodt also during the latter period bought out -- and closed down -- the only company manufacturing a similar, cheaper version of the product, thus ensuring that Mallinckrodt had totally cornered the market. In January, the FTC announced that Mallinckrodt agreed to a $100 million settlement of the agency's charge of illegal anti-competitive practices. ("$100 million" is only slightly more than the price of giving one vial to each infant expected to need it in the next year.) [Futurism, 1-18-2017]

TPrecocious: Girl Scout Charlotte McCourt, 11, of South Orange, New Jersey, saw her sales zoom recently when she posted "brutally honest" reviews of the Scouts' cookies she was selling -- giving none of them a "10" and labeling some with dour descriptions. She was hoping to sell 300 boxes, but as of the end of January, had registered 16,430. For the record, the best cookie was -- of course -- the Samoa, rated 9, but longtime favorites like the Trefoil ("boring") rated 6 and the Do-Si-Do ("bland") 5. The new Toffee-tastic was simply a "bleak, flavorless, gluten-free wasteland." [NJ.com, 1-31-2017]

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