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According to Reuters, “Amazon.com Inc is exploring a technology first developed for the U.S. military to produce tasty prepared meals that do not need refrigeration, as it looks for new ways to muscle into the $700 billion U.S. grocery business.”

Questions:
1. What are some of the dishes that Amazon plans to offer?
2. What is the acquisition that Amazon plans in this area and how much is the proposed acquisition?
3. How are these foods going to be different than those already out there?
4. What is MATS technology?
5. Discuss the pros and cons of Amazon’s plan.

Source:
Dastin, J. (2017). Amazon looks to new food technology for home delivery. Reuters, Aug. 11 (Retrievable online at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-food-idUSKBN1AR11X)

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According to Bloomberg, “CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. were sued by California customers who accused the drugstore operators of charging co-payments for certain prescription drugs that exceed the cost of medicines.”
Questions:
1. What do Schultz’s and Grabstulz’s lawsuits claim in specific terms?
2. Cases have also been filed against which health insurance companies?
3. What is a clawback?
4. Where have the cases been filed?
5. What is a co-pay and how should each pharmacy account for just one of the prescriptions mentioned?
6. Do you consider this to be a fraud?
Source:
Feely, j. and J.S. Hopkins. (2017). CVS Health Is Sued Over ‘Clawbacks’ of Prescription Drug Co-Pays. Bloomberg, August 5 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/cvs-health-is-sued-over-clawbacks-of-prescription-drug-co-pays)

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According to the Washington Post, the residents of Presidio Terrace, which is an oval-shaped privately owned street commonly known as one of the most exclusive communities in San Francisco, learned the that someone could buy their entire street.
Questions:
1. Why was it possible to own Presidio Terrace?
2. How many bidders did Ms. Lam and Mr. Cheng outbid?
3. How much was the asking price of a house on the street and how much did they pay for the street and its commons?
4. What was the debt owed for the street?
5. As legal owners, what options are available for the couple to pursue?
6. What would you do with the property?
7. Do you think the property owners will prevail with their litigation?
Source:
Horton, A. (2017). Residents of an exclusive San Francisco street didn’t pay their taxes. So someone bought their street. The Washington Post, Aug. 8 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/08/residents-of-an-exclusive-san-francisco-street-didnt-pay-their-taxes-so-someone-bought-their-street/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_mm-sf-1215pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.49592efffef6#comments)

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Barbara Barkley lost her house and her savings to a group of California scam artists who stole $11 million from thousands of struggling homeowners looking for help with their mortgages.

Questions:
1. Who was the ringleader of the scam and what sentence does he face?
2. How did the scam work?
3. Why wasn’t there anything they could do after being scammed?
4. What type of due diligence should the homeowners have undertaken on the front end, before being defrauded?

Source:
Weiner, R. (2017). ‘Honey, you’ve been scammed,’ she was told. She lost her home of 30 years. The Washington Post, July 29 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/honey-youve-been-scammed-she-was-told-she-lost-her-home-of-30-years/2017/07/26/36afedda-7070-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories-2_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.82eb534134b6)

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The standard advice for consumers is: if you are prescribed a medicine, always ask if there is a cheaper generic.

Questions:
1. According to the article, why are consumers told the opposite on some drugs – take name brand drugs and pay a higher co-pay?
2. What does Dr. Diller mean by “It’s Alice-in-Wonderland time in the drug world”?
3. What is the role of the Shire Company in this story?

Source:
Ornstein, C. and K. Thomas. (2017). Take the Generic, Patients Are Told. Until They Are Not. The New York Times, Aug. 6 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/health/prescription-drugs-brand-name-generic.html)

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Already struggling to rebuild its reputation after disclosing the creation of fraudulent bank accounts, the New York Times indicates that Wells Fargo may soon release information about even more fraudulent account creation.

Questions:
1. Based on the new investigation, how many accounts were found and over what period?
2. What is the new regulatory issue looming for Wells Fargo?
3. How have these issues affected Well Fargo’s stock price?

Source:
Cowley, S. (2017). Wells Fargo May Have Found More Fake Accounts Created by Employees. The New York Times, Aug. 4 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/business/dealbook/wells-fargo-fraud-accounts.html)

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When you look at middle-class manufacturing jobs. many do not even require a high school diploma but pay $15 to $25 an hour and offer full benefits. So why aren’t they being filled? As Nelson Schwartz indicates in this article, the problem is that too many applicants — nearly half, in some cases — fail a drug test.
Questions:
1. What are policy makers doing to address the underlying problem of underfilled jobs?
2. What does a federal study estimate that prescription opioid abuse cost the economy in 2013?
3. Besides unfilled jobs, what are some of the direct and indirect costs of the opioid epidemic to companies?

Source:
Schwartz, N. (2017). Economy Needs Workers, but Drug Tests Take a Toll. The New York Times, July 24 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/business/economy/drug-test-labor-hiring.html)

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New data suggests that EmCare, now one of the nation’s largest physician-staffing companies for emergency rooms, is showing a disturbing pattern. In the case of a small Spokane, Washington hospital, the number of patients coded as having billing for the most complex, expensive level of care quadrupled after the hospital contracted for services through EmCare.
Questions:
1. How does the contracting process allow for this ER billing surprise?
2. What were the trends in the rates of tests ordered and patients admitted from the E.R. into a hospital after EmCare took over a hospital’s billing?
3. Even if insurers simply pay higher out-of-network bills, what happens?
4. When emergency room doctors work for a company that has not made a deal with an insurer, what happens?
5. California recently passed a law setting a maximum amount that out-of-network doctors can charge patients. What other states have followed suit?
Source:
Creswell, J., R. Abelson, and M. Sanger-Katz. (2017). The Company Behind Many Surprise Emergency Room Bills. The New York Times, July 24 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/upshot/the-company-behind-many-surprise-emergency-room-bills.html)

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According to the New York Times, more than 800,000 people who took out car loans from Wells Fargo were charged for auto insurance they did not need, and some of them are still paying for it, according to an internal report prepared for the bank’s executives.

Questions:
1. How many customers were forced into delinquency and wrongful vehicle repossessions due to the unnecessary auto insurance?
2. During what period were the policies sold?
3. Why did the delinquencies rise so quickly?
4. What will be the consequences for Wells Fargo?
5. What were some of the disclosure violations?

Source:
Morgenson, G. (2017). Wells Fargo Forced Unwanted Auto Insurance on Borrowers. The New York Times, July 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/business/wells-fargo-unwanted-auto-insurance.html)

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According to Reuters, Nike’s pilot program to sell certain products on Amazon and Instagram is a precursor to it forging a deeper relationship with online retailers, and could hit sales at sporting goods retailers such as Foot Locker Inc.

Questions:
1. What are the benefits of this deal for Nike?
2. How is Nike trying to strike a balance on this deal and not hurt sporting goods retailers as much?
3. Nike still depends on the wholesale channel for what amount of revenue?

Source:
Ganesan, G. (2017). Nike-Amazon deal may hurt sporting goods retailers: analysts. Reuters.com, June 30 (Retrievable online at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nike-amazon-com-idUSKBN19L2LO)