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PhillyInc on AstraZeneca's 'no-fly' zone; Group of 8

The British drug maker says it will no longer pay for doctors to travel to international medical conferences.

If memory serves me, this day before the Memorial Day weekend will find reporters talking to many sources over the phone with seagulls laughing in the background, stuck in traffic on the Atlantic City Expressway or at the airport waiting for flights. Work day, indeed.

The rest of the world has been punching the clock. The Group of Eight winds up its meeting today. I'm not sure that the communique, obtained by Reuters and set to be issued later, is worth all of the staff time put into it.

Reuters also says that AstraZeneca won't pay for doctors travelling to international medical conferences anymore. Sure, that will save some money for the pharmaceutical company. But the move has far more to do with pressure from lawmakers over all sorts of payments Big Pharma has made to doctors, medical schools and hospitals over the years.

Don't hunt for a news release from the drugmaker, which has U.S. headquarters in Wilmington. Apparently, CEO David Brennan announced the change at an industry conference in Istanbul earlier in May. (Do you think many docs at that Turkey conference then double-checked to see if their plane tickets were one-way or roundtrip?)

Meanwhile, Britain won't allow drug companies to raise some prices and that has the industry ramping up the rhetoric. Bloomberg reports the industry says companies may scale back their operations there.

On the economic calendar, we have personal income, personal spending and pending home sales. And I'm sure we'll get around to diving into those reports after we find the sunscreen and beach chairs.