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Current Events in November 2018

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    GM eliminating five sedans in major reorganization

    The automaker will also shutter five North American plants

    General Motors has followed Ford's lead in reducing its fleet, retiring some of its sedans, including the electric Chevy Volt, the full-size Impala, and the compact Cruze.

    GM said the move as part of a transition to the automotive future, where consumers are purchasing fewer cars and being more discerning about the vehicles they do buy.

    “The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success.”

    As part of the transition, GM will slash its salaried workforce by 15 percent and shut down production at five North American plants. Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, says the industry has been bracing for impending upheaval.

    First major preview of the future

    "Today we got our first major preview of how this upheaval will manifest," Braur said in an email to ConsumerAffairs. "General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra has always moved quickly to address the company’s challenges, and today’s announcements remain true to that leadership style. She’s moving GM toward advanced technology and away from fading models, the market has largely abandoned. Each of these moves will contribute to GM’s long-term financial and competitive health, though they take a heavy toll on much of the current workforce."

    With the plant closings and force reduction, GM will phase out the Chevy Volt, its pioneering electric; the Chevy Cruze, a compact that saw September sales drop by 26 percent; the Impala, a sedan whose lineage goes back to the 1950s; the Buick LaCrosse, favored by older consumers; and two Cadillac models, the CT6 and XTS.

    Following Ford

    In their place, GM will focus on turning out more SUVs, hatchbacks, crossovers, and trucks. It's a move similar to the one Ford announced in April as the carmaker said it would phase out nearly all of its sedans in North America and focus on producing trucks and SUVs.

    For GM, five production plants will no longer be needed. They are the Oshawa Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada; Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit; Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio; Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Md.; and Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Mich.

    Even though it's unplugging the electric Volt, GM tells Bloomberg News that it is still committed to electric vehicles, but considered the Volt aging technology that is increasingly less viable in the marketplace.

    General Motors has followed Ford's lead in reducing its fleet, retiring some of its sedans, including the electric Chevy Volt, the full-size Impala, and th...
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    Pre-pregnancy health coverage increases following Medicaid expansion

    States that opted to increase Medicaid coverage saw the best results

    For low-income families, Medicaid is essential for assisting with the costs that come with medical visits, prescriptions, and procedures. Last year alone, 74 million Americans utilized Medicaid, further proving its benefits nationwide.

    A recent study conducted by researchers at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health found that states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had more women enroll in the service before pregnancy.

    “This study suggests that the ACA Medicaid expansion was associated with improved continuity of Medicaid coverage from the preconception to prenatal period,” said Dr. Jamie Daw.

    “Higher rates of health insurance before pregnancy may improve access to preconception care, which can help women to appropriately plan their pregnancy and optimize their health before conceiving. Interventions in the preconception period such as disease screening, disease management, and exposure avoidance counseling reduce pregnancy risks and are associated with improved maternal and fetal outcomes.”

    Keeping women healthy

    The researchers were interested in determining the differences found in Medicaid coverage both before and after the ACA expansion.

    There were over 26,000 participants from seven states that didn’t expand the ACA and over 30,000 participants from eight states that did expand the services. Additionally, all participants were either involved in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (2009-2015) or had federal poverty-level incomes.

    In states that expanded ACA coverage, the researchers saw pre-pregnancy Medicaid users go from 43 percent to 57 percent. Though not as significant of a climb, women in states that didn’t expand ACA services still went up from 31 percent to 36 percent.

    “The U.S. has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate among high-income countries,” Daw said. “More research is needed to explore the extent to which the increases in preconception Medicaid found in this study led to improvements in health outcomes for mothers and children.”

    Making headlines

    Health insurance has been a hot-button issue with many consumers recently, as the battle over coverage continues to rage on.

    Back in February, President Trump proposed expanding short-term health insurance plans that would be cheaper for many consumers, but they would also offer fewer protections.

    Designed to fill in the gaps between more permanent coverage, short-term coverage under the ACA would only cover patients for up to 90 days. However, with this new proposition, patients could have a short-term plan for up to one year.

    On the downside, though, many short-term plans wouldn’t offer patients comprehensive coverage; in fact, these plans could actually pose a security threat to those that opt-in, as they are often vulnerable to fraud.

    Also earlier this year, lawmakers argued over a spending bill -- worth approximately $1.3 trillion -- that could have consumers paying even more for healthcare coverage.

    Legislators from both sides of the aisle couldn’t agree on where and how the funds should be disbursed for health insurers, and without the money, premiums are expected to increase $8,000 over the next three years.

    For low-income families, Medicaid is essential for assisting with the costs that come with medical visits, prescriptions, and procedures. Last year alone,...
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      USPS site exposed data of 60 million users

      The Postal Service says it has patched the security weakness

      The United States Postal Service (USPS) has fixed a security vulnerability that exposed the data of 60 million people with accounts at usps.com throughout 2017 and 2018. Data exposed included phone numbers, street addresses, usernames, and phone numbers.

      Krebs on Security reported that an independent researcher had informed USPS about the flaw more than a year ago but received no response. The Postal Service didn’t address the issue until this week after it was contacted by cybersecurity specialist Brian Krebs.

      The security vulnerability has now been fixed, and USPS says it will continue to look into the issue “out of an abundance of caution.” The agency has said that it has no reason to believe that any of its users’ account details were accessed by hackers.

      API vulnerability

      The bug stemmed from an authentication weakness in the usps.com API tied to a free USPS program called “Informed Visibility,” which lets users track their mail in “near real-time.” Before the loophole was closed, anyone with a standard usps.com account could view -- and in some cases, even modify -- the account details of other users.

      “No special hacking tools were needed to pull this data, other than knowledge of how to view and modify data elements processed by a regular web browser like Chrome or Firefox,” Krebs said.

      In a statement, USPS officials stressed that they’re taking the issue seriously.

      “Computer networks are constantly under attack from criminals who try to exploit vulnerabilities to illegally obtain information. Similar to other companies, the Postal Service’s Information Security program and the Inspection Service uses industry best practices to constantly monitor our network for suspicious activity,” the agency told Krebs.

      “Any information suggesting criminals have tried to exploit potential vulnerabilities in our network is taken very seriously. Out of an abundance of caution, the Postal Service is further investigating to ensure that anyone who may have sought to access our systems inappropriately is pursued to the fullest extent of the law.”

      The United States Postal Service (USPS) has fixed a security vulnerability that exposed the data of 60 million people with accounts at usps.com throughout...
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      Apple to launch ‘Entrepreneur Camp’ for female app developers

      The company wants to provide mentoring to app-driven businesses owned or led by women

      Apple has announced that, in January, it will launch a free app development program specifically for female entrepreneurs with app-driven businesses.

      The two-week program, called Entrepreneur Camp, will give female app developers the opportunity to attend private coding sessions with Apple engineers, learn more about app design and marketing, and receive ongoing mentoring from an Apple Developer representative.

      Apple says its immersive program was “designed to create new opportunities for app-driven businesses owned or led by women through an intensive technology lab.”

      "Apple is committed to helping more women assume leadership roles across the tech sector and beyond," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. "We're proud to help cultivate female leadership in the app development community with the new Entrepreneur Camp, and we're inspired both by the incredible work that's already happening, and what's sure to come."

      Focusing on female iOS developers

      Those eligible to participate in the program must be part of a company that is female-founded, female co-founded, or female-led, and has at least one woman on the development team. The program is inclusive to transgender women. The company must also have a working app or prototype.

      "It's a fact that women are underrepresented in the industry," Esther Hare, Apple senior director of worldwide developer marketing and executive sponsor of Women @ Apple, told CNET. "And there's a huge disparity [in the] entrepreneur world when it comes to access and funding. There's an opportunity to do more and give exposure to women-led businesses."

      Apple is currently accepting applications for its first session, which will take place at the tech giant’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. The pilot camp will be comprised of 10 companies, but a new session will be held each quarter with up to 20 participating companies.

      In addition to receiving training and support, each company will get a free year in the Apple Developer program and two tickets to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for the following year.

      Apple has announced that, in January, it will launch a free app development program specifically for female entrepreneurs with app-driven businesses.Th...
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      Facebook confirms bug on Messenger

      The bug caused old chat threads to resurface in some users’ inboxes

      Facebook has confirmed that a bug impacted its Messenger platform, which resulted in some users finding that threads of messages from years ago had resurfaced and been marked as unread in their inbox.

      When users first started noticing the bug, Facebook didn’t offer much of an explanation as to why it was happening.

      “Some people are seeing older messages on Facebook.com,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We are aware of the issue and are actively working to resolve it in as soon as possible, we apologize for the inconvenience.”  

      Late in the day on Monday, Facebook said the bug had been “fully resolved” and that it had been caused by software updates. While the glitch was still active, some users stated that it was painful to be reminded of old conversations.

      “Thank you @facebook for sending me notifications of messages sent over a year old. Many were from the day my partner, Dean, passed away & now I've spent my evening in fear of what else I'm going to see,” said one Twitter user.

      Facebook has had to fix several other bugs on its site in recent months. Earlier this month, the company confirmed that it patched a bug that temporarily allowed websites to see users’ likes and interests.

      In September, Facebook confirmed that hackers had obtained access to 50 million login credentials by exploiting a vulnerability in the platform's "View As" code.

      Facebook has confirmed that a bug impacted its Messenger platform, which resulted in some users finding that threads of messages from years ago had resurfa...
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      Moneygram offers tips for avoiding holiday scams

      Weird methods of payment should always be a tip-off

      The holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and so is the holiday scam season. Criminals know consumers are in the mood to spend money this time of year and are thinking up clever ways to steal some of it.

      Moneygram, which in the past was scammers' favorite way of receiving money from their victims, is warning consumers to be aware of three major types of scams: Online shopping scams, fake charity scams, and anything requiring an unusual form of payment.

      Online shopping scams can take many forms but Moneygram warns that a common one is the offer of a big ticket item at a ridiculous price. Fraudsters often create websites that look like legitimate e-commerce operations. They run internet ads and create social media posts directing victims to those sites.

      If a victim makes a purchase they never receive the merchandise. Before buying from a company you've never heard of, use sites like ConsumerAffairs or conduct Google searches to find reviews.

      Fake charities

      People often feel generous at this time of year, and scammers take advantage of them with phony charities. Victims are usually contacted by email, text, or even social media.

      One trick scammers employ is to create a name for their charity that sounds familiar, or is similar to a real charity. For example, a scammer might say they are collecting for the Salvation Corps, instead of the Salvation Army.

      It's best to not donate to charities you haven't heard of, but if you want to check out whether a charity is legitimate you can do so at www.Give.org.

      When it comes to receiving your money, you can be sure a scammer won't take a check. They usually won't even take a credit card, since consumers have the option of disputing the charge.

      They might ask their victims to wire the money, but lately, they are more likely to ask victims to buy a prepaid money or gift card and send them the access numbers. Keep in mind that no legitimate business or organization does that.

      Raising awareness

      "Protecting our customers from fraud is MoneyGram's top priority," said Andy Villareal, MoneyGram's chief compliance officer. "Raising awareness about the tricks that scam artists use to steal their hard-earned money is just one of many steps we take to help guard consumers from fraudsters."

      Earlier this month, Moneygram paid $125 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges which charged the company of failing to fully comply with a previous order. A decade ago when wire transfers were the most common way scammers got money from victims, the company agreed to make changes to stop the scams.

      In the latest settlement, the government claimed Moneygram failed to fully comply with the provisions of the 2009 settlement.

      The holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and so is the holiday scam season. Criminals know consumers are in the mood to spend money this time of y...
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      Long Phung Food Products recalls pork patty rolls

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Long Phung Food Products of Houston, Texas, is recalling an undetermined amount of ready-to-eat pork patty rolls that may be contaminated with 

      Listeria monocytogenes.

      An epidemiologic investigation has identified a total of four listeriosis-confirmed illnesses.

      The following ready-to-eat items, produced from May 21, 2018, through November 16, 2018, are being recalled:

      • 16-oz. plastic vacuum packed packages containing a single marinated roll of “Long Phung 1988 GIO LUA” VIETNAMESE BRAND COOKED PORK PATTY ROLL ANCHOVY FLAVORED FISH SAUCE ADDED.
      • 32-oz. plastic vacuum packed packages containing a single marinated roll of “Long Phung 1988 GIO LUA” VIETNAMESE STYLE COOKED PORK PATTY ROLL ANCHOVY FLAVORED FISH SAUCE ADDED.
      • 14-oz. plastic vacuum packed packages containing a single marinated roll of “Long Phung 1988 CHA QUE” VIETNAMESE STYLE FRIED CINNAMON PORK PATTY ROLL ANCHOVY FLAVORED FISH SAUCE ADDED.
      • 16-oz. plastic vacuum packed packages containing a single marinated roll of “Long Phung 1988 GIO HUE” VIETNAMESE BRAND GARLIC & PEPPER PORK PATTY ROLL ANCHOVY FLAVORED FISH SAUCE ADDED.
      • 32-oz. plastic vacuum packed packages containing a single marinated roll of “Long Phung 1988 GIO HUE” VIETNAMESE COOKED PORK PATTY ROLL WITH GARLIC SEASONING ANCHOVY FLAVORED FISH SAUCE ADDED.
      • 16-oz. plastic vacuum packed packages containing a single marinated roll of “Long Phung 1988 CHA CHIEN” VIETNAMESE STYLE FRIED PORK PATTY ANCHOVY FLAVORED FISH SAUCE ADDED.
      • 16-oz. plastic vacuum packed packages containing a single marinated roll of “Long Phung GIO BI” VIETNAMESE BRAND COOKED PORK & PORK SKIN PATTY ROLL FLAVORED WITH ANCHOVY FLAVORED FISH SAUCE.

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. 13561” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to distributors and retail locations nationwide.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled should not consume them, but discard them or return them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions regarding the recall may contact Monica Nguyen at (713) 263-1944.

      Long Phung Food Products of Houston, Texas, is recalling an undetermined amount of ready-to-eat pork patty rolls that may be contaminated with Listeria...
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      Model year 2019 Lincoln Nautilus vehicles recalled

      The plastic cover on the driver front airbag module may detach during deployment

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 268 model year 2019 Lincoln Nautilus vehicles that are not equipped with Adaptive Front Steering.

      The plastic cover on the driver front airbag module may detach during air bag deployment, increasing increase the risk of injury in the event of a crash.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driver air bag module, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin in November 2018.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 18S38.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 268 model year 2019 Lincoln Nautilus vehicles that are not equipped with Adaptive Front Steering.The plastic cover on t...
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      Deleite Foods recalls marinated chicken thighs

      The product contains wheat and soy, allergens, not declared on the label

      Deleite Foods Enterprises of Salt Lake City, Utah, is recalling approximately 11,000 pounds of marinated raw chicken thighs.

      The product contains wheat and soy, allergens, not declared on the label.

      There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

      The following item, produced and packaged on October 12, 15 and 16, 2018, is being recalled:

      • 30-lb. cases each containing 3 10-lb. bags of frozen “MARINATED CHICKEN THIGH MEAT DICED – SUPC 7009466” and bearing lot codes 101218, 101518, or 101618.

      The recalled product, bearing establishment number “P-46130” inside the USDA mark of inspection, was shipped to restaurants in Utah.

      What to do

      Consumers with questions may contact Arnell Lopez at (801) 209-1485.

      Deleite Foods Enterprises of Salt Lake City, Utah, is recalling approximately 11,000 pounds of marinated raw chicken thighs.The product contains wheat...
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      Volvo recalls model year 2017-2019 vehicles with GPS issue

      The GPS may not provide location information to emergency personnel

      Volvo Car USA is recalling 17,548 model year 2017-2019 Volvo XC90s, S90s, V60s, V60 Cross Countrys, V90s, XC40s, XC60s and V90 Cross Country vehicles.

      The software installed in the Vehicle Connectivity Module (VCM) may have an error causing the Telematics and Driver Support Systems to function improperly.

      As a result, the GPS will not provide location information to emergency personnel, inhibiting emergency response in the event of a crash or injury.

      What to do

      Volvo will notify owners, and dealers will correct the software, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin January 7, 2019.

      Owners may contact Volvo customer service at 1-800-458-1552. Volvo's number for this recall is R39917.

      Volvo Car USA is recalling 17,548 model year 2017-2019 Volvo XC90s, S90s, V60s, V60 Cross Countrys, V90s, XC40s, XC60s and V90 Cross Country vehicles.T...
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      Ohio says residents can use Bitcoin to pay their tax bills

      The big question is will businesses take to the notion

      Cryptocurrency regained some of its lustre on Monday, as the state of Ohio announced that it’s permitting businesses to pay their tax bills using the digital currency.

      With that move, Ohio becomes the first U.S. state to accept Bitcoin as payment for taxes and has built a special website -- www.OhioCrypto.com -- to manage the effort.

      Ohio’s state treasurer, Josh Mandel, crafted the blueprint so that it works for everyone -- “from mom and pop coffee shops to Fortune 100 companies.”

      “[I] believe in leveraging cutting-edge technology to provide Ohioans more options and ease while interfacing with state government,” he said.

      Why cryptocurrency?

      While it might take time for the initiative to gain some traction and get businesses comfortable with using cryptocurrency, Mandel’s office sees these advantages for Ohio businesses:

      • Quick and easy – Businesses can pay their taxes in three quick steps using the cryptocurrency tax payment portal.

      • Real-time tracking – Payments on the blockchain can be tracked on an instantaneous basis.

      • Secure payments – Cryptocurrencies cannot be transferred to third parties without user initiation.

      • Low fees – A minimal fee is charged to confirm transactions on the blockchain network.

      • Transparency – Anyone can view all transactions on the blockchain network.

      • Mobile options – Consumers can easily make tax payments on their mobile phone or tablet.

      Who’s eligible?

      Any business operating in Ohio -- whether it’s headquartered in Ohio or not -- is eligible to pay taxes in cryptocurrency via OhioCrypto.com. All told, Ohio’s new system will accept payments for 23 different taxes ranging from Sales Tax to Motor Vehicle Use tax.

      To become eligible, all a business has to do is:

      1. Register online at OhioCrypto.com

      2. Enter in the tax amount due, enter business tax payment amount, and select the tax period date.

      3. Use the business’ cryptocurrency wallet to pay the invoice with Bitcoin. All payments are processed by the Ohio Treasurer’s office third party cryptocurrency payment processor, BitPay.

      While Bitcoin is the only accepted cryptocurrency to start, the Treasurer’s office says it’s looking forward to adding more cryptocurrencies in the future.

      So… good move or bad move?

      Only time and the market will tell if Mandel’s plan will hold water.

      According to various tweets regarding Ohio’s digital move, Mandel has been a fan of Bitcoin for some time and was “initiated in order to draw attention to the state’s tech enthusiasm.” Still others raise the question of the move being “too speculative” and that paying by Bitcoin “does not make the state tech-friendly [but] makes it financially irresponsible.”

      While Ohio is alone in working the pay-taxes-with-crypto angle, other states such as Wyoming and Florida are warming up to digital currencies, with Florida’s focus squarely on the consumer.

      “Other states have identified and are taking action against bad actors in the cryptocurrency industry. Florida must also protect our residents,” remarked Jimmy Patronis, the Sunshine State’s Chief Financial Officer.

      Cryptocurrency regained some of its lustre on Monday, as the state of Ohio announced that it’s permitting businesses to pay their tax bills using the digit...
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      Consumers set Black Friday spending records

      Online sales were up nearly 24 percent over 2017

      Retailers offered attractive doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and consumers rewarded them with record spending.

      So far only the data on online spending has been tabulated, and those numbers are eye-popping. Adobe Analytics, which monitors traffic for 80 percent of the major online retailers, reports consumers spent $6.22 billion online on Black Friday, an increase of nearly 24 percent over 2017.

      However, Thanksgiving Day sales were even more impressive in terms of their growth. Adobe reports online spending on Thanksgiving totaled $3.7 billion, a 28 percent increase over last year. Adobe also noted that, for the first time, the prices on Thanksgiving Day were as low as those on Black Friday.

      Phil Dengler, a principal at shopping site BestBlackFriday.com, says this year's Black Friday deals compared very favorably to last year.

      "While quantities were limited on the some of the top doorbusters, I would say Black Friday is only improving," Dengler told ConsumerAffairs. "Many more deals are available online now, and more stores are participating."

      Other emerging trends included the increasing use of smartphones to place online orders. Adobe found a third of Black Friday's online sales originated on smartphones for a total of $2 billion. Consumers also made significant use of brick and mortar options to buy online and pick items up at the store. Adobe said "click and collect" orders were up 73 percent over last year.

      Foot traffic was down

      With increasing options to buy without having to actually go inside a store, foot traffic was down on Black Friday. The New York Times found several malls around the country it surveyed were not any more crowded than on a typical Friday.

      In years past, stores usually stocked a limited number of sale items, creating a frenzy among shoppers and sometimes dangerous stampedes. The Times reports that was largely absent this year.

      The Wall Street Journal reports that initial calculations show that Black Friday foot traffic in stores was lower than last year, continuing a trend that began with the surge in online shopping over the last decade.

      That said, brick and mortar stores did very well. According to real-time data supplied by Mastercard, overall sales on Black Friday reached $23 billion, a 9 percent increase over 2017.

      Cyber Monday deals

      Some retailers like Target and Amazon have expanded today's Cyber Monday sales into a week-long event by offering discounted items each day. Amazon's deals today include a wifi-connected smart pressure cooker for $89.95, marked down from $149.95; and an Ancestry DNA testing kit for $49, discounted from $99.

      Among Target's Cyber Monday deals is a Swagtron Metro hoverboard for $150, marked down from $230, and up to 50 percent off on hundreds of toys.

      Retailers offered attractive doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and consumers rewarded them with record spending.So far only the data o...
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      Opioid industry refuses to pay a tax in New York meant to defray costs of epidemic

      A New York state tax on drug-makers was supposed to raise $600 million to cover the costs of the opioid crisis

      The opioid industry says it is being unfairly blamed for the nation’s opioid epidemic and is fighting a New York state law that charges drug makers a tax meant to go towards anti-addiction efforts.

      New York state introduced the first anti-addiction law of its kind with the New York Opioid Stewardship Act. The law went into effect July 1 and required all drug manufacturers, distributors, and importers who do business in the state to report all transaction information on the opioids they sell.

      A percentage of the sales would then be taxed, raising an estimated $600 million for the state over the course of six years, according to lawmakers.

      The state recently sent bills to 75 companies under the new law, but getting them to pay won’t be easy. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that industry groups have filed three lawsuits in recent months challenging the law, arguing that it is constitutional.

      Industry groups also claim that they are being unfairly targeted for causing the opioid epidemic.

      “Attempting to scapegoat an entire industry for a crisis with complex societal roots is a fundamentally flawed approach,” writes the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, one of the industry groups suing to stop enforcement.

      Numerous lawsuits and news reports have detailed how the opioid industry, notably Purdue Pharmaceuticals, aggressively marketed Oxycontin to doctors and downplayed concerns that it is addictive. The drug has earned Purdue empire the Sackler family an estimated $35 billion.  

      The family is now trying to sell opioid-addiction treatment medication and other substances meant to ease the side effects of opioid abuse.

      The opioid industry says it is being unfairly blamed for the nation’s opioid epidemic and is fighting a New York state law that charges drug makers a tax m...
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      Bitcoin plummets in value over Thanksgiving weekend

      Analysts point out that the entire cryptocurrency market is currently feeling the strain

      Things appear to be looking worse for Bitcoin.

      A recent report from Coindesk shows that the cryptocurrency experienced a huge drop in valuation over the weekend, coming in below $3,500. That was down from its value of just over $5,500 from last Monday. The downfall represented the biggest one-week drop since April of 2013.

      Reports indicate that the entire cryptocurrency market is feeling strained. In one week’s time, the market’s value dropped by approximately $54 billion, from $182 billion to $128 billion. That marks the lowest valuation since September 2017.

      Bitcoin continues to fall

      Overall, Bitcoin has seen its value drop by large amounts during 2018. After soaring past a value of $10,000 last November, some speculators thought that it could easily hit $40,000 by the end of 2018. However, it seems that the opposite has come true.

      In June, a professor and graduate student from the University of Texas claimed that the digital coin was subjected to price manipulation to inflate its value. They said that the trading patterns of other cryptocurrencies that affected Bitcoin were “not just a by-product of price appreciation.”

      Additional reports that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were being used for scams and pump-and-dump schemes have caught the eye of regulators, who continue to propose regulatory frameworks to rein in the digital assets.

      While values remain well below Bitcoin’s highest mark of over $19,000, some analysts say that flagging global markets and standard volatility in the cryptocurrency market are to blame for the sudden drop. However, after a very tough year, some investors may find it hard to muster up any optimism.

      Things appear to be looking worse for Bitcoin.A recent report from Coindesk shows that the cryptocurrency experienced a huge drop in valuation over the...
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