Brexit ‘bad cop’, opioid fallout and the screen of all screens

Planet Business: Awkward conversations continue in Paris

The French connection. Macron and May meet  in Paris. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The French connection. Macron and May meet in Paris. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

 

Image of the week: We meet again

For health and safety reasons, this isn’t the photograph of the diplomatic kiss shared by Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May, this little greeting dance on the steps of the Elysee Palace in Paris being quite excruciating enough. Macron is seen in some quarters as the “bad cop” to Angela Merkel’s “good cop” when it comes to how weary European leaders try to solve the problem of Brexit. The French president was apparently reluctant to grant a long extension without conditions, such an assurance that if the UK participates in European Parliament elections, it will agree to act in a “constructive and responsible manner” up until the point it manages to leave. Sadly (for them), this seems unlikely to be the last time Macron and the UK prime minister will be meeting up for awkward conversations.

In numbers:

19.2 x 5.4

Dimensions in metres of Sony’s massive new 16K resolution screen, which it has installed in a cosmetics company research centre in Yokohama, Japan. Longer than a bus, it stretches between two floors of the building.

64

The “crystal LED” screen, which features wildlife footage shot by Sony, has 64 times better resolution than a regular 1080p high-definition TV and also 16 times as many pixels as a fancy 4K television.

€5,299

Minimum price Irish consumers can currently expect to pay for a mere 8K television set. So it might take quite a while before a 16K one hits the mainstream.

Getting to know: Terry Duddy

These are interesting, delicate times for Terry Duddy, interim chairman of Debenhams since January, and the successor to a chairman who was ousted from the board by its biggest shareholder, Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct. Ashley, having had his bid for the department store chain rejected, earlier this week suggested through Sports Direct that Duddy and fellow board member David Adams should take a lie-detector test “to clarify their recollection” of a disputed meeting with Ashley. Sports Direct claimed Ashley’s own score “was so significantly high as to be considered rare in comparison to others”, and while it must be nice for him to bask in such elevated honesty, it hasn’t helped him win the day. It fell to Duddy, former boss of then Argos owner Home Retail Group, to express his disappointment that shareholders (including Ashley) had been wiped out by lenders’ move to take control. “However,” Duddy added, going on to list the upsides, the prospect of shaking off Ashley being the great unmentioned one.

The list: Opioid fallout

The number of pharmaceutical companies being sued for false marketing on opioid painkillers – and/or products apparently conceived to combat resulting opioid addictions – is getting longer.

1. Indivior. The London-listed company saw its share price plummet 70 per cent on Tuesday after the US department of justice charged it with fraudulently marketing its allegedly anti-addiction drug Suboxone Film.

2. Johnson & Johnson. J&J acted as the opioid “kingpin”, the attorney general of Oklahoma recently claimed in court filings.

3. Teva Pharmaceuticals. Teva is also a defendant in an Oklahoma trial that will seek to convict pharma groups of “public nuisance” – a long list of allegations about deceiving consumers having been dropped.

4. Allergan. The company, the third defendant in the Oklahoma case, spent a chunk of 2018 trying to pass off any opioid litigation costs arising from its morphine product Kadian to rival Pfizer, on the basis that Pfizer now owns the company Allergan bought Kadian from in 2008. Buyer beware.

5. Purdue Pharma. The privately-held company behind OxyContin is at the centre of multiple lawsuits and scandals, with several members of the controlling Sackler family highlighted for their unseemly contribution to the US opioid crisis.

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