In the Region

Abbott plans appeal in patent case

Abbott Laboratories said it planned to appeal a jury's $1.67 billion patent infringement decision in a case involving two blockbuster drugs that treat rheumatoid arthritis and other immune disorders. Late Monday, a jury in the Eastern District of Texas found that Abbott's best-selling drug, Humira, violated a patent on Johnson & Johnson's Remicade. The two biologic drugs each treat arthritis by blocking proteins that cause inflammation. Remicade is manufactured by Horsham-based pharmaceutical company Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson, at a facility in Malvern. - AP

Group: 8,300 area jobs imperiled

A Pennsylvania state Senate budget proposal could force hospitals in the five-county Philadelphia area to cut 8,300 jobs, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), a hospital advocacy group, said. HAP said Senate Bill 850 calls for $280 million in payment cuts statewide - $167 million in this region - to a variety of programs, including those aimed at helping hospitals that serve large numbers of poor patients, burn and trauma units, and obstetrical care. Gov. Rendell's budget calls for $75 million in cuts, HAP says. The state Department of Public Welfare estimated the cut at $44 million. - Stacey Burling

Pfizer offers remedies in EU review

Pfizer Inc. offered concessions related to its animal business, which may include divesting some products, to allay competition concerns by European Union regulators over its bid to buy Wyeth for $65 billion. Wyeth has major operations in the Philadelphia area. The company won't say what specific animal health assets would be involved for competitive reasons, Pfizer spokeswoman Joan Campion said. Pfizer said in March that it may have to sell some animal products to get regulatory clearance for the deal. It is unlikely that any divestitures would cost more than 10 percent of the combined $4 billion in annual revenue generated by the two companies' animal units, said Campion. - Bloomberg News


Consumer legislation sent

The Obama administration sent Congress legislation to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency designed to protect Americans from unscrupulous practices and make financial products easier to understand. The 152-page draft bill would create a five-member board to run the agency with four members nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The fifth member would be the director of the new National Bank Supervisor, the merged agency the administration is proposing to create to take over bank regulation duties. - AP

Madoff to transfer next month

Defense attorney Ira Sorkin said disgraced financier Bernard Madoff likely would be transferred from a federal jail in Manhattan to an unspecified prison in the next month. His client, he added, was "resigned to his fate." Madoff, 71, was sentenced to 150 years in prison on Monday. He pleaded guilty in March to charges that his secretive investment advisory business was a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out thousands of investors and ruined charities. The investigation continues into the multibillion-dollar fraud, and news reports have said that 10 people may eventually faces charges in the fraud. - AP

Judge revokes bond for Stanford

A judge in Houston revoked bond for Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is charged with swindling investors out of $7 billion. U.S. District Judge David Hittner approved a request by prosecutors to overturn a magistrate judge's decision to allow Stanford freed on $500,000 bond pending his trial. Prosecutors argue that Stanford's international ties make him a serious flight risk. Stanford holds dual U.S. and Antiguan citizenship, has an international network of wealthy acquaintances who would help him, and possibly access to vast wealth hidden around the world. But Dick DeGuerin, Stanford's attorney, says his client is penniless, has never tried to flee, and wants to fight the charges against him. - AP

52-week bills are auctioned

The U.S. Treasury sold $27 billion in 52-week bills at a high discount rate of 0.545 percent, as demand fell relative to the last auction of securities with same maturity. The return to investors is 0.555 percent, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,944.89. The bills are intended to reduce the government's reliance on irregularly issued cash management bills. - Bloomberg News

UBS urged to disclose names

The Obama administration escalated its attack on Swiss bank secrecy and tax evaders by insisting UBS AG reveal the identities of 52,000 U.S. account holders. In papers filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, the Justice Department responded to UBS' opposition to releasing the names. The United States is seeking the names as part of a lawsuit against UBS. In court filings and a diplomatic note, the Swiss government has said the lawsuit would "seriously jeopardize" efforts to revise a 1996 tax treaty. Under that treaty, Switzerland can turn over account data only on a reasonable suspicion of "tax fraud or the like," according to a UBS court filing. - Bloomberg News

JPMorgan raises minimum payments

JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to raise the minimum payment on balances to 5 percent for some customers, less than a month before new federal regulations on cards begin to take hold. The increase from 2 percent takes effect in August, the company said in a notice customers received this month. Customers who pay less than the minimum may be charged extra fees, the bank's Web site says. - Bloomberg News

Hyundai offers $1.49 gas guarantee

Hyundai said that customers in the United States who buy or lease its vehicles by Aug. 31 will receive a gas card that lets them buy fuel at $1.49 a gallon for a year, a promotion to win over consumers worried about volatile prices at the pump. Hyundai customers who enroll in the promotion, which launches today, will receive a gas card that bills gas purchases at $1.49 per gallon of regular-grade gas, regardless of the pump price. - AP