Money Minute: Drugmakers Seek OTC Status for Erectile Drug

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One of the nation's best selling and most heavily advertised drugs may be going over-the-counter.

Men may soon be able to buy the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis without a prescription. Eli Lilly (LLY) is about three years away from losing patent protection on Cialis, so it's selling the over-the-counter rights to the French drugmaker Sanofi (SNY). Cialis has been tried by 45 million men looking for a better sexual experience, but there's no guarantee that regulators will approve an OTC version. European regulators rejected an attempt by Pfizer (PFE) to take Viagra over-the-counter back in 2008.

Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have been victimized by hackers. CNNMoney reports an estimated 110 million Americans have had some personal information exposed to cyberthieves -- making them an easier target for scammers.

As expected, Apple (AAPL) has agreed to buy Beats Electronics. In addition to the high-end headphones that Beats is known for, Apple wants to unite with the company's co-founders, the rap star Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, a music impresario. They're expected to play a big part in Apple's move into subscription-based music services. The $3 billion price tag makes this Apple's biggest-ever acquisition.

Retail giant Walmart Stores (WMT) is also on the prowl for an acquisition. The company's new chief executive says he wants to broaden Walmart's digital strategy to better compete with Amazon.com (AMZN) and other rivals. The company has already bought 12 e-commerce companies over the past few years.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 42 points Wednesday, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost 12 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) slipped 2 points.

McDonald's (MCD) is the latest company to say it plans to return more money to shareholders. It plans to increase dividend payments and share repurchases by as much 20 percent over the next few years. It's part of a broader trend. Standard & Poor's says 353 of the 500 companies in its index have raised their payouts this year.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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