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Pharmaceutical companies and insurers are slugging it out over drug coupons, and the fight is likely to affect the prices people pay for their prescriptions.

Coupons, which are used to get steep discounts, typically come in the form of cards that consumers get in drug ads or from doctors. Coupons help drug companies sell more products, but studies show coupons also raise health care costs because they encourage people to buy more expensive drugs, even when cheaper generics are available. Insurance companies, therefore, don’t think much of coupons.

President Trump outlined a wide-ranging plan to combat the opioid epidemic on Monday, including an ad campaign to discourage drug use, expand addiction treatment and pursue a get-tough approach to law enforcement.

"Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer, if you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable," Trump told an audience in Manchester, N.H.

"Failure is not an option," he added. "Addiction is not our future."

Updated at 9:39 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a Republican challenge to the newly drawn Pennsylvania congressional map ahead of the 2018 elections.

The decision means Republicans have few, if any, options remaining to try to stem a map that will almost certainly result in Democrats picking up potentially three or four seats and could make half a dozen or more competitive.

Tuesday is the filing deadline for candidates for Pennsylvania's May 15 primaries.

If you want to cut your risk of catching the flu on your next flight, pick a window seat and stay put.

That's a key take-home message of a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

03/19/2018: Ben, Hank and Tim

20 hours ago

That is, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner, former president of the New York Federal Reserve and former Treasury secretary. We sat down with all three of them at Yale University last week to talk about what they saw 10 years ago as the economy collapsed, and what worries them now. We'll bring you bits of that conversation throughout today's show, with even more in the coming days.

Facebook and other tech stocks plunge as U.S. indexes skid

20 hours ago

NEW YORK (AP) - A sharp loss for Facebook is dragging technology companies lower Monday as U.S. stock indexes skid. The social media company is facing new criticism related to privacy issues following reports that a data mining firm working for the Trump campaign improperly obtained and then kept data on tens of millions of users. The stock is on pace for its biggest loss in four years.

Sherry Alvarez says she knew there was something different about her son since he was about 9 months old. Back then Sherry says his pediatrician told her there was nothing to worry about, " 'Boys are a little slower than girls, so let's just wait until his second birthday.' " We aren't using Sherry's son's name to protect his privacy.

By her son's second birthday, Sherry says she was getting desperate. She didn't know why he wasn't talking yet or showing affection like other kids. At 2 1/2, he was referred to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Authorities say a fourth device that exploded in Austin, Texas, this month indicates a "serial bomber" — and one who is more sophisticated than the earlier bombs suggested.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

A self-driving car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking her bicycle in Tempe, Ariz., Sunday night. The incident could be the first pedestrian death involving a self-driving vehicle.

The car was in autonomous mode but had a human riding along to take control of the vehicle if necessary, according to the Tempe Police Department. The victim, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was struck while walking outside a crosswalk, police said. She was immediately transported to a local hospital, where she died.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


The home equity loan deduction gets a second life

22 hours ago

At the end of February, the IRS issued a statement announcing that interest paid on home equity loans is still deductible under the new tax law if it is used for home improvements. The deduction was declared dead by a number of tax experts following the passage of the Republican tax bill at the end of 2017.

Cash-strapped American cities are increasingly asking their residents to pay higher amounts for mundane services as they struggle to pay for mounting pension obligations, cover costly infrastructure improvements and replace revenue depleted by the last recession. Bills are rising for everything from parking tickets and 911 calls to sewer service and trash pickup.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

You've heard of POTUS.

You've heard of FLOTUS.

But have you heard of BOTUS?

That would be BUNNY of the United States. Real name: Marlon Bundo. Bundo for short.

The little black-and-white bunny — named after Marlon Brando — belongs to Vice President Pence's daughter Charlotte and lives with the second family at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

What your internet service provider knows about you

23 hours ago

I don’t know him all that well, but Cameron Camp knows a lot about me.

In just a few days, he’s collected 30 million records on me. We asked his company, ESET, to try and understand what information my internet company, my internet service provider, knows about me.

Camp sent me a device called a “packet sniffer,” which I hooked up to my computer and let him see pretty much everything I do online that’s not encrypted. He can see that I collaborate with a team, some of the websites I've visited and some of the articles that I’ve read. Some of it was really personal.

Vladimir Putin won a fourth term as Russia's president on Sunday in a vote designed to be more of a referendum on his 18 years in power than a competitive election.

According to official results as of Monday morning, Putin swept up almost 77 percent of the vote, with Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin trailing in a distant second with less than 12 percent. None of the other six pre-approved candidates rose above the single digits.

On small peasant farms across Colombia, panela, or unrefined whole cane sugar, is grown, picked and processed entirely by hand. It constitutes the basic economy for hundreds of municipalities, and is second only to coffee in the number of people engaged in its production.

As Venezuela reels from hyperinflation that has caused a severe shortage of cash, one city is trying to mitigate the problem by printing its own currency.

Elorza, in western Venezuela near the border with Colombia, is selling its own bills featuring the image of an independence leader from the area, according to Reuters.

It's the worst Lassa fever outbreak ever recorded in Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization.

"In January alone there were more cases [203 suspected cases] than during the whole year 2017 combined," says Lorenzo Pomarico, emergency coordinator for the medical group ALIMA, the Alliance for International Medical Action. "This is an extraordinary and unprecedented outbreak in its sheer scale."

Shoppers and consumer advocates are up in arms after finding out that major retailers have been keeping closer tabs on them than they thought.

Retailers such as Best Buy, Victoria's Secret and The Home Depot have been working with a third-party organization to manage a database that determines which of their consumers should be banned from making returns, The Wall Street Journal reports.

People across the country will gather to call for stricter gun regulations at the "March For Our Lives" on Saturday, March 24. Are you planning on participating in the march — or a counterprotest — in Washington, D.C., or another city? Tell us why.

Talk to us by filling out the form below. You may be contacted by a producer, and your responses may be used in an upcoming project.

03/19/2018: The Fed isn't handing out candy anymore

Mar 19, 2018

(Markets Edition) Jerome Powell is set to chair his first interest rate meeting at the Federal Reserve this week, and you can expect rates to go up. We'll talk to economist Julia Coronado from MacroPolicy Perspectives about how the possibility of interest hikes — and America's new trade policies — is making the markets nervous. Afterwards, we'll look at how companies use coupons for name-brand drugs to steer customers away from purchasing lower-cost generics.

With Toys R Us closing its doors, what will happen to toy manufacturers that depended on the chain to display and sell everything from dolls to toy cars? What options do big toymakers like Mattel and Hasbro have, and what about smaller companies that looked to the retailer for shelf space? For companies in the toy game, a look at the next move.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Merger of AT&T-Time Warner goes to court

Mar 19, 2018

AT&T’s proposed $84.5 billion bid to take over Time Warner goes before a federal judge beginning today . The Trump Justice Department is suing to block the mega-merger on antitrust grounds.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

There's a big movement among major retail companies to become more than just places that sell you things. In the latest example, Walmart is partnering with a home-services app called Handy to give shoppers a deal on professional help assembling furniture or installing a TV.

03/19/2018: AT&T vs. the government

Mar 19, 2018

(U.S. Edition) AT&T's bid to buy Time Warner in an $85 billion deal is heading to court today. We'll look at why AT&T wants to make this move — and what some of the consequences could be if this deal goes through. Afterwards, we'll preview part of our interview with Timothy Geithner, former president of the New York Fed, about whether the government was right to rescue big banks back during the financial crisis.

In the age of social media, we should add a coda to the saying that knowledge is power: Data is a weapon.

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