Saturday, March 8, 2003
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Marathon draws first-time visitorsThe Honolulu Marathon, the fourth largest marathon in the world, brings thousands of Japanese visitors to the state who have never been here before, according to a survey of 1,001 runners in the December 2002 marathon.
Two-thirds of the marathon's 17,266 Japanese entries were running the race for the first time, and nearly three-quarters of the first-timers said they had never visited here before. Nearly half of the first-timers said the marathon was their only reason for visiting the isles.
Among those who had run the marathon before, 43 percent said they come to Hawaii only for the race.
A total of 157,048 Japanese visitors came to Hawaii in December 2002, down slightly from December 2000, when 160,494 Japanese visitors came here, according to the state.
The survey, done by advertising agency Asatsu-DK Inc., was given to Honolulu Marathon Association President Jim Barahal this week during his visit to Tokyo.
Last year's marathon had 26,477 finishers, 61 percent of whom came from Japan, the association said.
Shareholder unloads penny stockMera Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s stock hit an all-time low of 3.2 cents yesterday as heavy trading pummeled the shares for the fourth day in a row.
Mera's volume yesterday came to 402,700 shares, more than three times its six-month daily average of 116,431. The stock ended the day down 11.1 percent to run its loss for the week to 28.9 percent and its year-to-date loss to 50.8 percent.
Richard Propper, Mera's chairman and chief executive officer, said he attributed the heavy selling to a shareholder getting rid of shares.
"I heard that someone who's an old shareholder needs cash," Propper said. "I'm sure a lot of people in this market need cash these days. But when he's out, he's out and the stock will go back up. There's been no fundamental change at all with the company."
Mera, which produces the nutritional product AstaFactor, has a production plant in Kona and administrative offices in Solana Beach, Calif.
The company, which has never made a profit, has lost $21.3 million from its inception in 1988 through the end of its last fiscal year that ended Oct. 31, 2002.
American Savings goes after docsAmerican Savings Bank has formed an alliance with Xelan, a professional organization for Hawaii doctors, to provide customized financial planning products and services.
Xelan, which has approximately 1,000 Hawaii doctors as participants, specializes in assisting physicians and dentists with tax management, investment management, asset protection, and value system endowment programs and services.
Under the partnership, American Savings Bank will offer banking products designed specifically for Xelan doctor members, including customized American Savings Bank-Xelan credit cards.
ON THE MAINLAND
Bristol-Myers settles chargesWASHINGTON >> Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. yesterday settled federal charges that it blocked the sale of cheaper generic versions of three of its drugs, allegedly costing cancer patients and others hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Federal Trade Commission said the company tried to limit competition for two of its anticancer drugs -- Taxol and Platinol -- and the antianxiety drug BuSpar. The company's actions protected nearly $2 billion in annual sales, according to the FTC.
New York-based Bristol-Myers said in a statement that it agreed to the settlement "to achieve a resolution of these matters which will allow it to continue its focus on discovering and developing quality medicines."
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