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IMF interviewing candidates for chief

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund says it will interview the two leading candidates for the top job at the 187-nation lending institution this week with the goal of completing the selection process by June 30.

The IMF said in a statement that Agustin Carstens, the head of Mexico’s central bank, would meet with the IMF’s executive board on Tuesday, and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde would be interviewed by the board on Wednesday.

Lagarde is considered the front-runner for the position to succeed former IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last month after his arrest on sexual assault charges. The IMF said that its 24-member executive board would meet on June 28 to pick a new managing director with the aim of completing the selection process by June 30.

Associated Press

FDA OKs painkiller that’s harder to abuse

NEW YORK – Pfizer Inc. and Acura Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Monday the Food and Drug Administration approved a powerful painkiller that is designed to be harder to abuse.

The FDA cleared marketing of Oxecta as an immediate-release treatment for moderate to severe pain. The drug is designed to discourage common methods of abuse like crushing or dissolving, and it contains a compound that irritates the nose if it is snorted.

Oxecta is similar to Purdue Pharma LP’s OxyContin, the top-selling painkiller in the U.S. Regulators and health officials have pushed hard to get alternatives on the market after reports showed millions of people were abusing OxyContin and other prescription painkillers.

OxyContin is an extended-release painkiller, however, and Citi Investment Research analyst John Boris said those drugs represent a larger market. Boris said annual sales of Oxecta could rise as high as $100 million, but Remoxy sales could reach $500 million a year.

Associated Press

Gazprom working on deal with China

MOSCOW – Russia’s state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom said Monday that it hopes to clinch a multibillion-dollar deal with China by year-end to become the largest supplier of natural gas to the world’s biggest energy consumer.

Last week, Chinese and Russian leaders failed to reach a price agreement for the long-awaited deal, which would guarantee annual supplies of 68 billion cubic meters of gas to China for 30 years, starting from 2015. Moscow wanted to link the price to oil prices the way it does in Europe, but China considers any European-level price too high.

Gazprom expects prices for its supplies to Europe to reach $500 per 1,000 cubic meters by the year’s end, twice as much as China reportedly was ready to pay. At Gazprom’s price, the deal will have cost China more than $1 trillion by 2045.

Associated Press