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Business news in brief

In the Region

FTC: Outlaw 'pay for delay' drug deals

The Federal Trade Commission urged an appeals court in Philadelphia to outlaw settlements between brand drug makers and generic-drug makers on patent expirations. The agency asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court's ruling that accords between Merck & Co.'s Schering-Plough unit and generic makers of the K-Dur 20 high-blood-pressure medicine didn't violate antitrust laws. Merck has major operations in the Philadelphia area. The FTC is fighting agreements between companies about when generic drugs can be marketed, known as "pay for delay" settlements, saying they cost consumers the equivalent of about $3.5 billion a year. Drugmakers say the deals may bring lower-cost copies of drugs to market sooner than they would otherwise. - Bloomberg News

Judge rules in Cephalon's favor

Cephalon Inc., Frazer, won a round in court Tuesday when a U.S. District Court judge in Delaware issued a temporary injunction against Mylan Pharmaceuticals in a patent dispute. Mylan must stop making and selling its generic version of Cephalon's muscle relaxant Amrix until an appeal is heard. - David Sell

Bank hires small-business lenders

As part of a push to hire 1,000 small-business bankers across the nation, Bank of America said it had hired 11 lenders in Southeastern Pennsylvania and six in South Jersey, based at branches in Camden, Burlington, Ocean, and Atlantic Counties. Last June, Bank of America had 102 branches with $7.7 billion in deposits, for a 6 percent market share, in the eight-county Philadelphia area. - Harold Brubaker

Pa. firm to supply Delmarva with power

Delmarva Power announced Tuesday that it would buy the power produced by the 38-megawatt Chestnut Flats wind farm in Blair County, Pa., near Altoona. Delmarva had originally agreed to buy power from a western Maryland wind farm built by Synergics Eastern Wind Energy L.L.C., which environmentalists have opposed because it allegedly threatens an endangered bat species. Synergics instead will supply Delmarva from the Pennsylvania facility, which was developed by Gamesa Technology Corp. using turbines manufactured at its plant in Fairless Hills, Bucks County. - Andrew Maykuth

Center City firm adds lawyers in Houston

Cozen O'Connor, the Center City law firm, said Tuesday that 14 lawyers from the Houston office of Epstein Becker Green had joined the firm. Heading the group are A. Martin Wickliff Jr. and Alton J. Hall Jr. The two lawyers had previously founded the largest minority-owned law firm in Texas, with many corporate clients. Cozen, a 550-plus-lawyer firm with 22 offices in the United States, London, and Toronto, has two Texas offices, in Dallas and Houston. The firm said the latest additions would join its Houston office and bolster the firm's labor and employment, commercial litigation, and energy and public utilities practices. - Chris Mondics

Broomall home workers set to strike Wednesday

About 120 workers at Broomall Presbyterian Village will conduct a one-day strike Wednesday because of what their union called "bargaining in bad faith" by the 147-bed nursing home's management. The union, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, said 15 bargaining sessions over the last year had failed to produce a contract for the workers, who are negotiating their first contract. Presby's Inspired Life, the Lafayette Hill organization that runs the home, said it had been "conscientiously meeting" with the union and remained committed to bargaining in good faith. A spokesman, Dan Magee, said the home would ensure proper staffing during the strike. - Paul Schweizer

Company to pay to settle age-bias suit

Asian World of Martial Arts Inc., Philadelphia, agreed to pay $100,000 to its former controller, Morris Pashko, now 77, to settle a claim that it violated age-discrimination laws in 2007 when it fired Pashko, then 74. The company told him that he had worked beyond the company's newly implemented retirement age of 67. On Sept. 28, 2010, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal age-discrimination suit against Asian World. The company countered that Pashko, of Lansdowne, had experienced performance issues. As part of the settlement, reached May 19, the company must post a sign saying that federal law prohibits terminating employees based on age. - Jane M. Von Bergen

Hundreds attend Phila. campus job fair

Hundreds of college students and recent graduates who study or live in the Philadelphia area attended the third annual Campus Philly Opportunity Fair, an effort by the Philadelphia nonprofit to retain recent college graduates in the city through jobs or through graduate school. The fair, held this year at Temple University, attracted 700 to 800 students, about the same as last year. The number of employers rose slightly. New this year was a civics fair designed to connect recent graduates with volunteer opportunities. "We think that's a real strong anchor" to help keep graduates in Philadelphia, Campus Philly president Deborah Diamond said. "It gives them a community." - Jane M. Von Bergen

Hershey drops lawsuit against Mars

Hershey Co., the maker of Reese's candies, dropped a lawsuit against Mars Inc. in which it contended Mars' packaging for its Dove peanut butter and chocolate bars infringed trademarks for Reese's. Hershey and Mars agreed to "dismiss with prejudice all claims asserted in this action," according to a filing Monday in federal court in Harrisburg. - Bloomberg News


New-home sales up, but pace remains sluggish

More people bought new homes for a second straight month in April. Still, sales remain far below the pace of a healthy housing market. New-home sales rose 7.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 323,000, the Commerce Department said. A normal market would produce a pace of about 700,000 new-home sales a month. Purchases rose in every region last month, after severe winter weather had hammered many areas. Sales jumped more than 15 percent in the West, 7.7 percent in the Northeast, nearly 5 percent in the Midwest, and more than 4 percent in the South. - AP