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Tamiflu sales skyrocket

February 20. 2013 2:18AM
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Tamiflu sales skyrocket

This year's flu epidemic has been a shot in the arm for sales of prescription drug Tamiflu.

The antiviral medication is in high demand due to an early and moderately severe flu season, according to California-based Genentech Corp, a biotech business that's part of the Roche Group. Right now there is a temporary shortage of the form of Tamiflu as a liquid taken orally, typically used to treat children, as well as a shortage of several flu vaccines.

Karen Andersen, a senior analyst with Morningstar in Chicago, is projecting Tamiflu sales this year will hit $750 million, more than twice its sales of $350 million during the 2011-12 flu season. Andersen said that even the huge bump in sales won't have much of an impact on the parent company's stock or year-end sales.

Airline agents shun union

Customer-service agents at American Airlines narrowly rejected a union's bid to represent them in collective bargaining with the company.

The airport and reservations-center agents voted against representation by the Communications Workers of America by 3,052 to 2,902, or 51 percent to 49 percent. About 76 percent of eligible workers voted, according to results released Tuesday.

The union said it lost votes because American has laid off 2,000 agents since it filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. Spokeswoman Candice Johnson said workers who were laid off had to give up job-recall rights to get severance payments, which made them ineligible to vote.

Wal-Mart to hire veterans

Why wait on Washington to fix the economy when there's Wal-Mart?

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer and the biggest private employer in the United States with 1.4 million workers here, said Tuesday that it is rolling out a three-part plan to help jumpstart the sluggish U.S. economy.

The plan includes hiring more than 100,000 veterans in the next five years, spending $50 billion to buy more American-made merchandise in the next 10 years and helping its part-time workers move into full-time positions sooner.

The move comes as Wal-Mart attempts to bolster its reputation, which has been hit in the past year by an alleged bribery scandal in Mexico and a deadly fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplies clothes to the company.

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