Walmart, CVS agree on prescription-drug deal

Walmart will continue to participate in CVS Health’s prescription-drug network for customers with private health insurance and Medicaid coverage.

Derica Rice, the executive vice president of CVS Health, said in a statement Friday that the companies had reached a “mutually agreeable solution” that would allow customers with pharmacy benefits managed by CVS Health’s Caremark business to still have their prescriptions filled at Walmart locations. CVS and Walmart did not disclose the terms of the deal.

They also did not say what changed since Tuesday, when CVS said Walmart’s requested rates would lead to higher costs for its customers. Walmart, in turn, said it was committed to providing value to its customers, “but we don’t want to give that value to CVS.”

The dispute between the companies did not affect Medicare coverage for prescription drugs or the deal Sam’s Club, operated by Walmart, has to participate in the CVS pharmacy network.

— Associated Press

Eli Lilly cancer drug fails study; shares dip

Eli Lilly said Friday that its cancer treatment Lartruvo, which had won conditional approval, failed to improve patient survival in a long-term confirmatory study and will no longer be prescribed, driving the drugmaker’s shares down nearly 3 percent.

No new U.S. patients will be started on the drug, and Lilly is suspending promotion of the medicine, the company said.

Lartruvo won accelerated approval in 2016 in the United States and conditional approval in Europe based on results from a promising mid-stage trial. But its continued approval was contingent on the results of a larger, late-stage trial confirming the drug’s benefits.

On Friday, Lilly said Lartruvo, combined with the chemotherapy medication doxorubicin, did not prolong survival more than doxorubicin alone in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma.

Anne White, Lilly’s chief operating officer for oncology, said in a telephone interview that the results were “completely unexpected.”

Lartruvo will continue to be available to patients who appear to be benefiting from it as global regulators determine next steps for the treatment, White said.

— Reuters

Industrial production rises in December

U.S. industrial production increased 0.3 percent in December, led by the biggest surge in manufacturing in 10 months.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that manufacturing output jumped 1.1 percent last month, the largest gain since February. Automakers drove much of the growth with a 4.7 percent jump in production.

Utility output slumped 6.3 percent amid an unseasonably warm December. Mining output rose 1.5 percent on increased extraction of oil and natural gas.

Overall industrial production is up 4 percent from a year ago.

The manufacturing sector was also using more of capacity, a sign that companies might need to invest more in equipment and facilities. Capacity utilization at factories increased 0.7 points to 76.5 percent, a solid increase, though that’s two points below the long-term average. Auto sales improved 0.3 percent in 2018, to 17.27 million vehicles sold.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

U.S. consumer sentiment tumbled to the lowest since October 2016, and future expectations dimmed. The University of Michigan's preliminary January sentiment index fell to 90.7 from the previous month, according to a report Friday. The measures of current conditions and expectations declined to the lowest since President Trump's election in 2016. "The decline was primarily focused on prospects for the domestic economy," Richard Curtin, director of the consumer survey, said in a statement. "The loss was due to a host of issues including the partial government shutdown, the impact of tariffs . . . the global slowdown and the lack of clarity about monetary policies," said Richard Curtin, director of the consumer survey.

The U.S. Treasury on Friday released final regulations for a tax deduction of up to 20 percent for U.S. businesses organized as "pass-through entities," under President Trump's 2017 overhaul of the tax system. The document lays out how to determine the amount of deduction available to the owners of businesses that operate as sole proprietorships, partnerships, S-corporations, trusts and estates. About 30 million U.S. businesses are organized as pass-through entities, in which they pass profits through to their owners as personal income.

Tiffany & Co. said sales slipped in the holiday shopping season as Chinese tourists spent less while traveling due to the strong dollar, making it more expensive to buy Tiffany jewelry outside of its stores in China. The company also said it was hurt by the ups and downs of the stock market, anxiety around Brexit and protests in Paris that forced the company to close its store during some weekends. The New York company said sales at established stores worldwide fell 2 percent in November and December compared to the same period the year before.

— From news reports