News In Brief

Bridgestone Corp. announced it would post a $350 million special loss this year after its Firestone unit recalled 6.5 million tires Wednesday. The Tokyo-based firm also cut its group net profit estimate for this year from about $830 million to $620 million. A company official said Bridgestone expected some impact on sales, and that 50 lawsuits related to the tires have been filed against the firm.

A less expensive version of the anti-depressant drug Prozac will be available after a federal appeals court in Washington ruled not to extend the patent of its manufacturer. Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co., which counts on Prozac for a quarter of its sales, had hoped to retain exclusive production rights of the drug through 2003. The court decision allows other companies to sell a generic Prozac by February 2001. Generic drugs usually sell for half the price of the brand-name original, which typically leads to sales of the brand-name drug dropping by 80 percent after two years of competition. Lilly plans to appeal the decision.

For the first time, a government-owned factory in China has been closed down for environmental reasons, state media reported. Shenyang Smeltery, in an industrialized part of northeast China, discharged 74,000 tons of sulphur dioxide and 67 tons of metals into the atmosphere annually, Xinhua News Agency said. In the mid-1980s the plant was one of China's top 100 state-owned enterprises.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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