Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Retailers report slower sales growth in September

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Americans may have slowed their spending in September after splurging during the start of the busy back-to-school shopping season in the month before. But most importantly, they were still spending.

September sales rose 3.9 percent â¿¿ a slowdown from the 6-percent rise in August â¿¿ as 22 retailers, like Macy's and Costco, reported mixed results, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Still, given the economic and political uncertainty that weighs on many Americans right now, analysts say the results are an encouraging sign for stores as they head into what's traditionally the busiest shopping period of the year in November and December.

Retailers' monthly sales figures are based on revenue at stores opened at least a year. That measure is considered to be an indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

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Defective generic pill revives quality concerns

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ More Americans than ever are taking generic drugs, as blockbuster medicines like Plavix and Lipitor become available in low-cost versions. But the government's revelation this week that it mistakenly approved a defective generic antidepressant could stoke ongoing concerns about the safety and quality of knockoff drugs.

Generic drugmakers already are under public scrutiny for an unprecedented shortage of generic injectable drugs, driven in part by manufacturing problems. The spate of bad news could undermine years of outreach by the government and drugmakers to assure patients that cheaper generic drugs are just as effective as brand-name drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday asked Teva Pharmaceuticals to withdraw its drug Budeprion XL 300 after testing showed the drug did not properly release its key ingredient. The drug is supposed to be equivalent to GlaxoSmithKline's popular antidepressant Wellbutrin XL, which is prescribed to treat depression, anxiety and nicotine withdrawal.

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