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Briefcase: OPEC report estimates demand outstripping supply

OPEC report estimates demand outstripping supply

VIENNA, Austria – An OPEC report suggests world demand for its oil is outstripping supply.

The monthly demand forecast from the oil cartel shows estimated OPEC crude production last month averaged 28.97 million barrels a day. It also shows demand this year for OPEC oil averaging a daily 29.9 million barrels.

Friday’s report comes two days after an OPEC meeting ended in disarray, with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf members unable to push through production increases. Iran led the grouping against increases within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Associated Press

Toyota expects profit plunge followed by strong recovery

TOKYO – Toyota forecasts its annual profit to dive 31 percent, hammered by production disruptions from parts shortages, but its outlook Friday projects a robust recovery from the earthquake and tsunami in coming months.

Toyota Motor Corp. had not given an earnings forecast earlier because of uncertainties about its production outlook after the March 11 disaster wiped out key parts suppliers in northeastern Japan.

Toyota forecast a 280 billion yen profit for the fiscal year through March 2012, down from 408 billion yen for the previous fiscal year.

Associated Press

Maker of Pampers settles lawsuit over skin rashes

CINCINNATI – Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble says it has agreed to settle a lawsuit by parents who claimed a new version of Pampers diapers caused skin rashes and other problems for their babies.

P&G will pay the parents’ attorney fees, estimated at $2.7 million, and give each child of the 59 plaintiffs $1,000 under terms subject to final approval in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati. The company also will spend $400,000 to create a pediatric resident training program and provide skin rash education, including on the Pampers website.

P&G said it isn’t paying the plaintiffs damages, and a federal probe found no specific link between the new diapers and babies’ skin problems. The company also will indicate on the diapers’ packaging how to get more information about rashes.

Associated Press

Merck revises drug labels to cut dispensing errors

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. – Drugmaker Merck & Co. soon will be shipping many of its top medications to pharmacies in containers with labels redesigned to prevent dispensing errors.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just approved the revamped container labels. They have a new standardized format to make them easier to read and give better information on the drug inside and the dosage strength.

Merck spent about three years working with several FDA divisions to revamp the layout and content of the medicine containers shipped to pharmacies. Individual prescriptions are dispensed from those into small bottles for patients.

The revised labels will go on 16 oral medications, including diabetes pills Januvia and Janumet, asthma and allergy drug Singulair and Isentress for HIV.

Associated Press