Must-Read Money Stories for Friday, Jan. 13

by January 13, 2017
President-elect Trump's plan to crack down on generic drug imports could hike prices, reported The New York Times.

President-elect Trump’s plan to crack down on drug imports could hike prices, reported The New York Times. (“Pharmaceutical photo” courtesy of Pexels).

Trump’s plan to trim drug imports

The New York Times reported on President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to slow the flow of imported drugs and increase U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturing. But experts warned such a move could actually increase drug prices because many of the cheapest drugs (mainly generics) used in the U.S. are made overseas. Trump targeted pharmaceutical companies leaving the U.S. in his news conference on Wednesday. Snehashish Sen the manager of one of the largest Indian manufacturers of generic drugs said Trump has it all wrong. He said generic drugs made abroad “helps the Americans to be able to afford the same medicines at a cheaper rate.”

EPA accuses Fiat Chrysler of violating the Clean Air Act

Fiat Chrysler is in hot water over accusations from both the Department of Justice and EPA that the car maker installed software that increased nitrous oxide emissions beyond the legal limit on some of its diesel-powered cars — some 104,000 cars in total. Wired reported Fiat Chrysler never told the EPA about the software changes. Regulators haven’t said what the software was actually for, and whether it constitutes a deliberate attempt to skirt anti-pollution test rules. All of this doesn’t bode well for Fiat Chrysler. Since cracking down on VW’s cheating scandal, the EPA has vowed to prosecute similar cases.

Trump’s border wall and its real cost

The Financial Times takes a closer look at the real costs of President-elect Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and the wall’s feasibility. According to the FT, about 670 miles of metal fencing was built along the Mexican border at an estimated $2.4 billion cost. That section of the fence was approved by Congress in 2006. An executive of a Texas-based construction company estimated a full 2,000-mile wall could cost up to $50 billion, enough to build the Hoover Dam about 70 times. That’s led some to doubt such a wall ever will be built. There is also concern that U.S.-owned properties in Mexico could be seized by the Mexican government if Trump’s foreign policies have too much of a negative impact of the nation’s economy.

Report: robots will take some jobs, but not too quickly

Job automation is likely to displace workers in the years to come, but the pace is likely to be more gradual than some alarming predictions, reported The New York Times. According to a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute, a measured pace is more likely because of what is currently technically possible. Instead, the short-term impact is likely to transform, rather than eliminate many jobs.  Globally, McKinsey researchers estimated that nearly half, or 49 percent of time spent on work activities, could be automated with “currently demonstrated technology.”