National Partners

Stories from our program partners, including NPR, APM, and PRI.

12/13/2017: The abuse liability of a drug

Dec 13, 2017

“Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.” That’s a sentence from OxyContin’s original label, and after months of investigation, Marketplace podcast The Uncertain Hour has found it an important factor in setting off the opioid crisis. And today we break down Janet Yellen’s last news conference and review the deal the House and Senate struck to move the tax bill along.

Jonathan Bachman

Climate change fueled some of the record rainfall Hurricane Harvey dumped on the Houston area in August.

Two new scientific studies find warmer temperatures caused by global warming likely increased the amount of rain that fell over the Gulf region during the storm by between 15 and 38 percent.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The vote tally in yesterday's Alabama Senate election offers a snapshot of racial polarization in today's America. 

Nearly two-thirds of white women voted for GOP contender Roy Moore, the candidate backed by President Donald Trump. At the same time, 98 percent of black women cast their ballots for Democratic candidate Doug Jones. 

The difference for men was almost as stark: About 93 percent of black men supported Jones, compared to 26 percent of white men. 

The GOP tax plan moves closer to being done

Dec 13, 2017

House and Senate negotiators agreed on the framework of the GOP tax bill this morning. We know some things about it. The bill will lower the corporate income tax rate to 21 percent. It will let people deduct some state and local taxes. It will lower the top individual income tax rate. President Donald Trump praised the bill. "This is for the people of middle income, the companies that are going to create jobs," Trump said. "This is for very very special people, the great people of America." We asked experts how they view the bill.

This year's Atlantic hurricane season is billed as the most expensive in U.S. history. Estimates vary depending on who's measuring the costs and over what period of time, but we're talking up to $400 billion in damages between Harvey, Irma and Maria. Millions of homes were damaged or destroyed. In Rockport, Texas, some estimate 80 percent of the homes and buildings were wiped out. So where do residents there live while the town picks up the pieces?

How Condé Nast became an entertainment company

Dec 13, 2017

Dawn Ostroff's last job was running The CW, which was then a newly launched network aimed at young people. A little over five years ago, she left Hollywood to join Condé Nast, the magazine publisher behind such titles as Vogue and Vanity Fair. As president of Condé Nast Entertainment, Ostroff was charged with figuring out how to turn published magazine articles into films and television shows and more than that, to figure out ways to turn Condé Nast from a print company into a digital media company too.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is raising its key interest rate for the third time this year and foresees three additional hikes in 2018, a vote of confidence that the U.S. economy remains on solid footing 8 and a half years after the end of the Great Recession.

How Condé Nast went from magazine publisher to entertainment company

Dec 13, 2017

Five years ago, Condé Nast, the venerated magazine publisher, launched a whole new division that had nothing to do with print. Condé Nast Entertainment pumps out viral video content like the popular "73 Questions" series for Vogue. It's also tasked with adapting the company's vast catalog of print material for the film and digital-video audience.

Saudi culture is undergoing seismic change: Women are now allowed to drive, music concerts have been held, and this week the kingdom announced it was lifting a 35-year ban on cinemas. The first ones are expected to open next March, and it's a massive business opportunity.

Estimates say the Saudi industry could be worth as much as $25 billion.

(Markets Edition) The president of the National Federation of Independent Business says small businesses are feeling very optimistic right now, in large part because of the GOP's planned tax overhaul. However, John Arensmeyer — CEO of the Small Business Majority — stopped by to explain why not all of them are happy.

Ajit Pai's new internet

Dec 13, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission will vote to eliminate net neutrality rules this week. Despite concerns about the integrity of the comment period, FCC chairman Ajit Pai told us the vote will happen Dec. 14.

Obamacare’s open enrollment period closes for most states Friday. Thanks to a complicated federal formula, a spike in premiums this year has given consumers who are eligible for subsidies more money to buy insurance. And early signs suggest some people in California and Washington state are going for the gold —the gold, normally expensive, plans.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(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.

Some Capitol Hill lawmakers say a rushed tax bill is not such a big deal, because a technical corrections bill can happen early next year. But given the uncertain nature of today’s politics, that could be harder or take longer than expected.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

12/13/2017: Evolution in entertainment

Dec 13, 2017

(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

Dec 13, 2017

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

Dec 13, 2017

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

Dec 13, 2017

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. 

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/35290925806">Lance Cheung/USDA</a>

On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote to end “net neutrality” — rules that keep internet service providers (ISPs) from creating paid fast lanes for some content, while blocking or slowing downloading speeds for other content.

For the last 35 years, movie theaters have been banned in Saudi Arabia. That changed on Monday when Saudi Arabia announced it would allow cinemas to open as early as March.

It's the latest gesture towards modernization by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also behind measures to permit women to drive and to bring back concerts.

When Saudi director Haifaa al-Mansour heard the news, she excitedly took to Twitter:

Mark Makela/Reuters

Akayed Ullah, 27, is accused of setting off a pipe bomb in New York City on Monday, injuring five people, including himself.

He came to the US from Bangladesh in 2011 on a visa for relatives of a US citizen.

Related: Investigators search for clues in attempted New York subway bombing

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

Dec 12, 2017

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.

When you step inside artist Kalman Aron’s modest apartment in Beverly Hills, a lifetime of creation surrounds you. The walls are covered in paintings and finished canvases are stacked on the floors, a dozen deep. The paintings range from portraits to landscapes to abstract works. They’re just a fraction of the roughly 2,000 pieces Aron says he’s created over the decades.

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

Dec 12, 2017

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.

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