Bashful? Buy the little blue pill online
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Men who are bashful about needing help in the bedroom no longer have to go to the drugstore to buy that little blue pill.
In a first for the drug industry, Pfizer Inc. told The Associated Press that the drugmaker will begin selling its popular erectile dysfunction pill Viagra to patients on its website.
Men still will need a prescription to buy the blue, diamond-shaped pill on viagra.com, but they no longer have to face a pharmacist to get it filled. And for those who are bothered by Viagra's steep $25-a-pill price, Pfizer is offering three free pills with the first order and 30 percent off the second one.
Brands risk image in varying Bangladesh responses
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Global clothing brands involved in Bangladesh's troubled garment industry responded in starkly different ways to the building collapse that killed more than 600 people. Some quickly acknowledged their links to the tragedy and promised compensation. Others denied they authorized work at factories in the building even when their labels were found in the rubble.
The first approach seems to deserve plaudits for honesty and compassion. The second seems calculated to minimize damage to a brand by maximizing distance from the disaster. Communications professionals say both are public relations strategies and neither may be enough to protect companies from the stain of doing business in Bangladesh.
Such experts say that with several deadly disasters and fires in Bangladesh's $20 billion garment industry in the past six months, possibly the only way retailers and clothing brands can protect their reputations is to visibly and genuinely work to overhaul safety in Bangladesh's garment factories. A factory fire killed 112 workers in November and a January blaze killed seven.
GOP seeks alternative to overtime pay
WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems like a simple proposition: give employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay.
The choice already exists in the public sector. Federal and state workers can save earned time off and use it weeks or even months later to attend a parent-teacher conference, care for an elderly parent or deal with home repairs.
Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would extend that option to the private sector. They say that would bring more flexibility to the workplace and help workers better balance family and career.
The push is part of a broader Republican agenda undertaken by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to expand the party's political appeal to working families. The House is expected to vote on the measure this week, but the Democratic-controlled Senate isn't likely to take it up.
NY AG: 2 banks violated mortgage accord
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's attorney general on Monday accused Wells Fargo and Bank of America of violating the terms of last year's national mortgage settlement by failing to process hundreds of refinancing requests promptly.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has notified the national monitoring committee established to enforce the five-bank agreement, citing complaints of 210 prompt-processing violations by Wells Fargo and 129 by Bank of America. If the committee defers taking action, Schneiderman said he will sue for compliance.
Under the settlement, the banks are required to respond to mortgage modification requests within 30 days. Schneiderman said delays put homeowners further into debt from missed payments and penalties, pushing them closer to foreclosure.
New jobs and energy gains helping lift US economy
WASHINGTON (AP) — A stronger-than-expected April rebound in job creation and recent dramatic discoveries of vast U.S. oil and gas reserves are helping to lift the American economy out its long funk.
The economic good news is also drawing attention to the importance of private-sector innovation rather than government policy in fostering growth.
The Labor Department's report that payrolls expanded by 165,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate declined to a four-year low of 7.5 percent does not represent explosive job growth by any measure.
FDA wants cancer warnings on tanning beds
WASHINGTON (AP) — Indoor tanning beds would carry new warnings about the risk of cancer and be subject to more stringent federal oversight, under a proposal unveiled Monday by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA has regulated tanning beds and sun lamps for over 30 years, but for the first time ever the agency says those devices should not be used by people under age 18. The agency wants that warning on pamphlets, catalogues and websites that promote indoor tanning. And regulators are also proposing that manufacturers to meet certain safety and design features, including timers and limits on radiation emitted.
The government action is aimed at curbing cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which have been on the rise for about 30 years. An estimated 2.3 million U.S. teenagers tan indoors each year, and melanoma is the second most common form of cancer among young adults, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
FDA warns pregnant women of migraine drug risk
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health regulators are warning doctors and women of child-bearing age that half-a-dozen medications used to treat migraine headaches can decrease children's intelligence if taken while their mothers are pregnant.
The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that the drugs, including Depakote and Depacon, should never be taken by pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches.
The pills, which all contain the ingredient valproate sodium, already carry a boxed warning about the risk of birth defects. But the FDA said it is adding new warnings to the drugs after a study showed they decreased IQ scores in children whose mothers took them while pregnant.
Pentagon: Chinese government waging cyberattacks
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon for the first time used its annual report on China to directly assert that Beijing's government and military have conducted computer-based attacks against the U.S., including efforts to steal information from federal agencies.
In a new report on the Chinese military, the Defense Department goes a small step further than it has gone in the past, when it said that cyber-attacks originated in China and may be linked to Beijing's use of civilian experts in clandestine attacks against American companies. But over the past year, U.S. government officials and private cyber-security experts have increasingly stepped up accusations that the Chinese government is directly involved in cyber espionage against the U.S.
In February, a U.S.-based cyber-security firm, Mandiant, issued a report accusing a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai of years of cyber-attacks against more than 140 companies, a majority of them American.
Spain, Italy team up to demand crisis relief
MADRID (AP) — The premiers of Spain and Italy teamed up Monday to push the eurozone to focus more on spurring economic growth instead of just reducing debt — a move they hope will reduce high youth unemployment and speed up a banking reform effort aimed at stabilizing Europe's financial system.
After meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Italian Premier Enrico Letta warned that inaction could prompt rising anti-Europe sentiment among voters across the continent, resulting in political punishment for leaders who support the 17 nations that use the euro currency.
Letta warned that the European Union risks driving its supporters away if it fails to offer a "positive" view of economic and political integration and is only the bearer of bad financial news that has now lasted years.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 5.07 points to close at 14,968.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 index crept up 3.08 points to 1,617.50, a gain of 0.2 percent. The Nasdaq composite rose 14.34 points to 3,392.97, an increase of 0.4 percent.
The benchmark oil contract for June delivery rose 55 cents to close at $96.16 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is the benchmark for international oil varieties and more susceptible to news from the Middle East, gained $1.27 to $105.46 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $2.87 a gallon. Heating oil rose 4 cents to $2.92 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to $4.01 per 1,000 cubic feet.