BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Taking a stand. CVS
(NYSE:CVS), the nation`s largest pharmacy benefits manager, will limit
opioid drug prescriptions amid the national epidemic. Will others follow?
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: SEC hack. The information
obtained may have been used for insider trading. Investors have a lot of
questions and few answers.
GRIFFETH: Hot zone. Is California, the country`s biggest state economy,
prepared for a major earthquake?
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this
Thursday, September the 21st.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Bill Griffeth here at the New York Stock
Exchange, in tonight for Tyler Mathisen.
HERERA: Great to see you, Bill. Thanks for joining us. I`m Sue Herera.
CVS (NYSE:CVS) is a major player in the nation`s health care system and
drug supply chain. It`s also on the front lines of the epidemic. And
tonight, that company is taking steps to try and curb abuse of the drugs by
limiting the duration and dose of some prescriptions.
CVS` reach is wide. Through its Caremark unit, the company manages
medications for nearly 90 million people. That`s about 28 percent of the
Meg Tirrell has more now on CVS` new rules for opioid painkillers.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CVS
(NYSE:CVS) Health said today it`s taking new actions to try to curb misuse
of prescription opioids.
DR. TROYEN BRENNAN, CVS (NYSE:CVS) CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: If we do limit
exposure to these medications, we`ll have fewer people who become addicted
to them. And the fewer people who become addicted, they`ll lead better
lives. We`ll eliminate human suffering. We`ll even reduce the number of
deaths that occur.
TIRRELL: The chain`s pharmacy benefits manager, CVS (NYSE:CVS) Caremark,
says it will limit prescriptions of opioids for acute use to seven days.
For patients with chronic pain, CVS (NYSE:CVS) says it will put caps on the
daily dosage based on the strength of the medicine. The company says its
new policies consistent with guidelines for opioid prescribing set last
year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
BRENNAN: The number of deaths from drug overdoses just continues to climb.
It`s a real crisis, an epidemic in our country. And that`s why everybody
who`s involved in pharmacy and taking care of patients needs to be taking
steps to address it.
TIRRELL: The move comes as scrutiny grows over industry`s role in the
opioid epidemic, which now claims more lives each year than car accidents.
ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: There`s no doubt that there
simple are too many prescriptions for too many opioids in America right
TIRRELL: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is among those in
government taking action. His office sent letters to the three largest
pharmacy benefits managers, including CVS (NYSE:CVS) Caremark last week,
seeking information about their role in opioid prescribing.
SCHNEIDERMAN: We want to get information from them on how all parts of the
system work so we can understand how to make less addictive drugs more
available and cut down on the distribution of opioids.
TIRRELL: State attorneys general and members of Congress are also
investigating the role of health insurers, drug manufacturers and
distributors. But some doctors worry there could be unintended
consequences to new policies like those from CVS (NYSE:CVS).
DR. DAVID EDWARDS, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Sometimes specific populations
rely upon these medications, specifically cancer patients. And CDC
guidelines weren`t really intended for that population. If we applied
their guidelines and recommendations too broadly, we end up sometimes
affecting to the detriment those specific populations.
TIRRELL: Vanderbilt`s Dr. David Edwards says CVS` change is just one many
being implemented by health insurers, distributors and pharmacies around
opioids, leading to many more restrictions and administrative headaches.
EDWARDS: It`s very time-consuming. I spend probably half of my day now
calling, doing peer-to-peers with other physicians that represent these
companies, rather than caring for my patients.
TIRRELL (on camera): He said the key to making a dent in the opioid
epidemic is making sure patients have access to alternative therapies and
ways to treat addiction.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell.
GRIFFETH: So, will CVS`s decision to limit opioid prescriptions cause
other pharmacy benefit managers to do the same?
Here to talk about all of this and the potential implications of this move
is Dr. David Streem. He`s the medical director of alcohol and drug
recovery at Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Streem, thank you for joining us tonight.
DR. DAVID STREEM, MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF ALCOHOL AND DRUG RECOVERY, CLEVELAND
CLINIC: Thank you.
GRIFFETH: First of all, I`m curious, is it up to the prescribing doctor to
limit the dosage and decide when it can be distributed? I mean, how does
it work with the benefit manager, then?
STREEM: Well, I think it`s really best when these sorts of decisions are
made in a collaborative process with another very important element of
that, and that`s the patient. So, patients, payers, pharmacists,
physicians, all should take a part in developing a treatment plan, if
there`s a procedure, and what the post-procedure pain management plan is
going to be.
HERERA: Doctor, full disclosure, I`m married to a doctor. So, take that
But I think — while we all applaud any attempt to get rid of the scourge
of opioid addiction, it seems as though this may be extremely time-
consuming for the pharmacists who have to then liaison with the doctor.
And a lot of doctors don`t like to be challenged when they`ve written a
prescription. They push back against that.
Do you see this working, or not?
STREEM: Well, good physicians need good pharmacists. I feel that very
strongly, not just about the opiate prescribing issue. We need to have a
good collaborative relationship with pharmacists with which we interact.
And I think you`re exactly right, the time and the time that these
interactions take will be the major cost of implementing these changes, not
just for CVS (NYSE:CVS) but for all health care providers on both sides of
the — or on all sides of the patient. And the time element is going to be
the most costly part of getting this horrendous opiate addiction epidemic
GRIFFETH: So, to the first question we posed, CVS (NYSE:CVS) is trying
this out, they want to limit the dosage and how it`s distributed. Do you
think other PBMs will follow?
STREEM: I think some will. But I think what`s most important is that the
policy not only focus on what the pharmacists will or won`t do, but the
emphasis on collaboration, and that how much time the pharmacist is going
to need to spend collaborating with both the physician and with the patient
to determine what the right pain management plan is, and whether it
includes opiates or not, is the most important and most costly part of
this. And it`s important that the time required for that is allowed and
accounted for on both the pharmacy side, the benefit manager side, and the
GRIFFETH: We will see how it works out.
Dr. David Streem with Cleveland Clinic, thanks again for joining us
STREEM: Thank you so much.
HERERA: To Wall Street now, where the Dow`s nine-day win streak was
snapped. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) weighed on the index for a second day on
concerns about Internet connection issues with its Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
Watch. In fact, the stock is on track for its worst week ahead of a major
product launch since 2007.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 53 points to 22359, the Nasdaq was
off 33, and the S&P 500 dropped seven.
Today`s small market moves are pretty common in this market. But that
doesn`t mean things are dull.
Bob Pisani explains.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The markets may not be
as dull as you think they are. The low market volatility is making a lot
of investors a bit crazy. But look beneath the hood and you`ll see a
market that`s showing healthy rotation and really no signs of breaking
down, at least not now. In the past month, there have been big rallies in
energy and material stocks. And biotech stocks and semiconductors have
again reasserted market leadership. Even banks, which has been a huge
underperformer all year, have been outperforming the markets.
Now, all of this is happening with the S&P 500 often just moving four or
five points from its high to its low on an intraday basis. This has been
going on for the last few weeks. And it wrongly makes it look like the
market isn`t doing anything.
There`s real dynamism in the market. It`s just below the surface. It
really isn`t captured if the only thing you`re watching is the S&P 500.
So, I see two problems here. First, investors have gotten very used to
investing in nothing but these index-backed ETFs. And they need to get
their eyes off the S&P 500 and focus a little more carefully on the market
Second, investors need to understand that there is no law that says the
markets need heavy volume or high volatility to advance. As my old friend
Laszlo Birinyi told me yesterday, if all you`re going to do is just look at
the S&P 500 and volume, you`re really not going to understand what`s going
on in the markets.
Hey, by the way, when I talked to Laszlo Birinyi yesterday and I said, do
you have any strategy for people who wanted to do a little picking without
abandoning exchange traded funds? He said the successful strategy for him
was to buy the nine biggest stocks in the S&P`s sub indexes, but he said
leave out telecom utilities. So, the nine biggest in group is Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL), Exxon, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM),
GE, Procter and Gamble, and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). And that holding an
equal basket of those biggest stocks has produced a 22 percent return this
year. That`s pretty impressive.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.
GRIFFETH: Elsewhere, Standard & Poor`s has cut China`s credit rating for
the first time since 1999. The rating agency is citing risks from soaring
debt in that country. Analysts say that the downgrade highlights
challenges faced by communist leaders as they cope with slowing economic
HERERA: President Trump announced new sanctions on North Korea and said
China, North Korea`s biggest trading partner, has ordered its banks to stop
doing business with Pyongyang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China, their central bank
has told their other banks, that`s a massive banking system, to immediately
stop doing business with North Korea. This just happened, just reported.
In addition to everything else, what we will do is identify new industries,
including textiles, fishing, information technology, and manufacturing,
that the Treasury Department can target with strong sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: The treasury secretary today said the U.S. plans to call on Russia
to do more as well on the North Korean situation.
GRIFFETH: In Mexico City, rescuers there continue to push through debris
for signs of any life, two days after that powerful earthquake rocked the
city. The president of Mexico said that he has accepted offers of
technical assistance now from the U.S., from Spain, Israel, Japan, and
But that quake now has many Californians asking whether the U.S.`s biggest
state economy is prepared should the proverbial big one hit.
Jane Wells is in Los Angeles for us tonight.
REPORTER: The brick facade has just collapsed.
JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s been
decades since California experienced a major earthquake, 1994 in Los
Angeles, 1989 in San Francisco.
And while seismologists predict the West Coast is due for another big one
in the next 30 years, Californians tend to ignore such predictions until a
big one hits somewhere else, like Mexico City.
(on camera): Do you have earthquake insurance?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. But I just got it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Way too expensive. I can`t afford it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m thinking about getting some kind of system to store
water. It`s just — you know, the buzz is that you need to be prepared.
And I want to be prepared.
WELLS (voice-over): The U.S. Geological Survey says several areas of the
country face potentially significant damage from an earthquake. But
California has the most faults. Billions have been spent strengthening
But veteran seismologist Lucy Jones says it`s not enough.
LUCY JONES, SEISMOLOGIST: Infrastructure especially. Who thinks about the
pipes in the ground? No one wants to spend money on that. It`s out of
sight, out of mind. And yet the resilience of those structures is the
future of most communities.
WELLS: For example, if a magnitude 8-plus quake ruptured along the
southern end of the massive San Andreas fault, research predicts hundreds
of older buildings miles away in Los Angeles would collapse, fires would
create more death and destruction. And the region`s main water supply
would be damaged.
(on camera): They`ve been working on an early warning system like they
have in Japan, for years, at a cost of around $40 million — million, not
billion. But it`s only half done, not yet available to the public, and
Congress is now debating whether to fund its completion.
(voice-over): Such a system could send an alert on cell phones, giving
people at least a few seconds to duck and cover. And in the case of a
quake along the San Andreas, residents in Los Angeles might get a full
minute warning before shaking starts there. All it takes is money.
JONES: We`ve reached the point that earthquakes don`t kill too many
people. But it`s much more of a threat to our pocketbooks at this point
than it is to our lives.
WELLS: Just this week, a small temblor in Los Angeles reminded everyone
they live in earthquake country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you feel that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you feel it? We just had a little earthquake.
WELLS: And that unlike a hurricane, quakes come without a warning, at
least for now.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Jane Wells, Los Angeles.
HERERA: Still ahead, this year`s most powerful women in business. Who is
the list and who is not.
HERERA: In Silicon Valley, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) said it is actively
working with the U.S. government on its investigations into Russian
interference in the 2016 presidential election. In a Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)
live post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company will provide 3,000 ads
created by fake accounts linked to Russia and give them to Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CHAIRMAN & CEO, FACEBOOK: We are in a new world. It is a
new challenge for Internet communities to have to deal with nation states
attempting to subvert elections. But if that`s what we must do, then we
are committed to rising to the occasion.
Our sophistication in handling these threats is growing and improving
quickly. We will continue working with the government to understand the
full extent of Russian interference. And we will do our part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has faced growing pressure from Congress to
release the content of those ads.
GRIFFETH: Alphabet`s Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) division is buying part of HTC`s
smartphone operations for more than $1 billion. That move bolsters
Google`s hardware business. Analysts say that the deal shows Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) is serious about growing its smartphone unit and can now
further develop its flagship Pixel smartphone.
HERERA: Well, just when Equifax (NYSE:EFX) thought things couldn`t get
much worse, the credit reporting bureau`s Twitter account tweeted links to
a fake phishing site pretending to be Equifax (NYSE:EFX). The fake site
used an address similar to the valid Equifax (NYSE:EFX) site that was
designed to help customers. Those Twitter posts have since been deleted.
Earlier this month, Equifax (NYSE:EFX) said that the personal information
of 143 million customers was potentially compromised in a cyberattack.
GRIFFETH: Wall Street`s regulator, the SEC, is coming under fire after
being hacked. Late last night, the agency said it discovered a breach in
its corporate filing system last year and became aware last month that
hacked information may have been used for illegal stock trades.
Eamon Javers is following the story for us tonight from Washington.
Eamon, I said they discovered this last year. Why did it take so long for
them to disclose this hack?
EAMON JAVERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You
know, we`ve been asking the SEC exactly that all day, Bill, because that`s
the obvious question here. If you knew about it last year, why is it just
coming to light today?
The SEC has not responded to us at all about this. They do say, however,
that ultimately, the vulnerability here was in part of the EDGAR system,
which is where companies file documents for public disclosure. It`s the
part of the system that allows them to do that on a temporary basis, maybe
tee those documents up for disclosure tomorrow or the next day.
That was the weakness here. The SEC has disclosed that much, but they`re
not saying why it took them a full year or as much as a full year to really
give these details out to the public.
HERERA: Have they said what they do about it, if anything?
JAVERS: They have said that they patched that particular flaw, and they`ve
said they have launched an internal investigation into what happened here.
But ultimately, we`re left with a lot of big questions, including who done
it, right? We don`t have any idea who was responsible for this or what
they did with this information.
In theory here, this was a case of cyber insider trading, people getting
access to sensitive documents before they`re released publicly, then
trading on that information. But we don`t know at all what the trading
was, which companies were affected, or how much those hackers might have
made in all of this scam.
The possibility here is that it was a nation state. We`ve seen the North
Koreans, the Russians and others interested in this. That could be where
we`re looking, but the SEC not giving any guidance whatsoever in any of
GRIFFETH: Quite a story.
Eamon Javers in Washington, thank you, as always.
JAVERS: You bet, Bill.
HERERA: Sales fall at Scholastic (NASDAQ:SCHL) and that`s where we begin
tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The book publisher also reported a wider loss, citing a lack of blockbuster
titles that could compete with last year`s “Harry Potter” sales. The
company noted it typically, though, reports a loss during its first
quarter, when many U.S. schools are not in session. Shares finished the
day down 7 percent to $35.79.
Anadarko said that it would launch a $2.5 billion share buyback program.
The oil and natural gas company also reaffirmed its 2017 production
guidance for its assets in the Gulf of Mexico. Shares of Anadarko
Petroleum (NYSE:APC) rose 8 percent to $48.49.
GRIFFETH: Allstate (NYSE:ALL) said it expects catastrophe losses for
August to reach nearly $600 million. Much of that attributable to the
damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. The company has yet to release
estimated insurance losses from Hurricane Irma. Allstate`s shares fell
fractionally today to $90.67.
And the Food and Drug Administration warned that a liver disease drug made
by Intercept Pharmaceuticals could lead to death if given in the incorrect
dosages. Prior to the FDA`s letter, the company issued a similar message
earlier this month to the medical community, warning physicians to closely
follow the dosage guidelines for the drug, called Ocaliva. Intercept`s
shares plunged nearly 25 percent today to $73.70.
And McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) is raising its quarterly dividend nearly 7-1/2
percent to $1.01. The yield on that dividend now: 2.5 percent. McDonald`s
(NYSE:MCD) shares fell slightly today to $159.03.
HERERA: Bill, the most powerful women in business. “Fortune” magazine is
out with its annual ranking. Topping the list for the third year in a row
is General Motors (NYSE:GM) CEO Mary Barra. She is followed by the chair
and CEO of Pepsi, Indra Nooyi. And rounding out the top three is Lockheed
Martin`s Marilyn Hewson.
So, let`s welcome back a familiar and well-loved person to NIGHTLY BUSINESS
REPORT, Susie Gharib. She`s senior special correspondent for “Fortune”.
Good to see you as always, Susie.
SUSIE GHARIB, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, FORTUNE: Great to see you. Speaking
of powerful women.
HERERA: Right back at you.
Mary Barra, third year in a row.
HERERA: Quite an accomplishment and she heads up what has been in the past
basically a male-dominated field.
GHARIB: That`s right. You know, and the first time she made the list, I
was interviewing here and I said to her, how are you going to compete with
all these Silicon Valley companies that want to disrupt the auto business?
And she said, we`re disrupting ourselves.
Now, every CEO says that these days, but she`s proving, don`t count out
General Motors (NYSE:GM). She beat Tesla to the market with the Chevy
Volt. And, you know, despite all the hype that Tesla was getting, revenues
are up, you know, stock is up.
And so, she really belongs in that top spot for the third year.
GRIFFETH: Susie, I`m so sorry not to see you there in person.
GHARIB: Same here.
GRIFFETH: Let me ask you this. Number four, you`ve got Fidelity`s Abigail
Johnson. Number five is Sheryl Sandberg. She jumped ahead of Ginni
Rometty at IBM.
What can you tell us about that?
GHARIB: You know, one thing about this list, Bill, it`s not just about
what company you`re running, it has to be a big, important company like
IBM. Well, you know, Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer at
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), that`s a big job. But it`s also, you know, what
impact are you making on the social and cultural scene, what is your job
So, Sheryl has changed the way women — we look at women in the workplace.
She`s changed the way we look at grieving in the workplace with her
bestselling book on that subject. And whenever there`s a big job out
there, whether it`s Disney (NYSE:DIS) or Uber or the White House, her name
So, she is a role model to a lot of women. And she`s making a lot of
changes. She`s powerful woman.
HERERA: She certainly is.
You mentioned some of the reasons why she made the list. And they are
varied. But were there specific themes or kind of threads that went
through this year`s list?
GHARIB: Yes, we are seeing a lot of changes in this list. The big one is,
so many more women in big technology jobs. We just mentioned Ginni
Rometty, but also we`re seeing women in, you know, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), in
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), Meg Whitman at Hewlett-
And when “Fortune” came out with this list 20 years ago, most of the
powerful women were in retailer, consumer products, food companies. But
now we`re seeing a big change in all of that.
The other one is we`re seeing a few more women of color. Geisha Williams,
who is the CEO of the largest utility in California, PG&E. She`s the first
Latina. And there`s also Indra Nooyi from Pepsi and from Home Depot
(NYSE:HD), Ann Marie MacDonald (ph).
Susie, always, so good to see you.
GHARIB: Same here.
GRIFFETH: Thank you, Susie.
HERERA: Thank you so much for joining us.
GHARIB: Thanks, Bill.
HERERA: Bill, back down to you.
GRIFFETH: All right. Coming up, were small business owners caught in the
middle of the Kansas great tax experiment. We`ll talk about that, coming
GRIFFETH: Back in 2014, you may know that Kansas undertook a great tax
experiment, cutting taxes sharply, only to roll them back a few years later
because of the big budget deficits that they caused. But some small
business owners got caught tangled up in the sudden end of the state`s
aggressive tax reductions.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) is in Kansas City for us tonight.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shortly
after Kelly McCracken launched her small business, Amazing Smiles of Kansas
City, some five years ago, she was given a gift in the form of a tax break
from the state, which was undergoing a real live experiment in tax reform.
Governor Sam Brownback cut personal income tax rates and scrapped taxes
altogether for pass-through businesses like McCracken`s. She saved
thousands of dollars and was able to reinvest in her startup due to the tax
DR. KELLY MCCRACKEN, AMAZING SMILES OF KANSAS CITY: The realization of
several thousands of dollars, which goes back into the business in the form
of hiring other small businesses to help with our Website, do SEO, hire
another employee, and most recently, we made a durable equipment purchase.
ROGERS: But the experiment didn`t go as planned. The state wound up with
a budget deficit in the billions, impacting its schools, roads, and pension
systems. In June 2017, the state legislature reversed the cuts and made
taxes retroactive for pass-throughs for the entire year. Not all small
businesses thought the experiment was a success even though they saved
Karl Miller, owner of Lark Label in Wichita, said the tax break wasn`t
enough to make a difference to his bottom line.
KARL MILLER, OWNER, LARK LABEL: It was nice little pocket change, but I
couldn`t for $1,200 or $1,400 a year go out and hire a new employee. So it
didn`t affect us that way.
ROGERS (on camera): The burden of taxes ranks as the top three issues for
small businesses around the country, according to the National Federation
of Independent Business. But with President Trump pushing for a low rate
for pass-through businesses as part of his overall reform package, critics
of the experiment here in Kansas are saying the administration should
proceed with caution.
Back at Amazing Smiles, with back taxes coming due, McCracken is figuring
out what her next step should be.
MCCRACKEN: Even just a few thousand dollars alters your usable income for
the year. It greatly impacts these decisions that we made just months ago,
without the plan or knowledge that this was going to be coming in the
ROGERS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) in Kansas
HERERA: Finally tonight, Halloween is big business. A new report from the
National Retail Federation put spending this year at more than $9 billion,
a new record. Shoppers plan to spend the most on, what else? Costumes.
But candy is a close second.
That does it for us tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for joining us.
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a great evening. We`ll see you
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