COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

FTC ENDS INVESTIGATION

OF MERCK-MEDCO DEAL

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. - The Federal Trade Commission told Merck & Co. Inc. and Medco & Co. that it was terminating its investigation of the proposed acquisition of Medco, a pharmaceutical research and development company in Los Angeles, by Merck.

The commission determined, prior to substantial compliance by the parties with the commission's previously issued requests for additional information, not to challenge the closing of the transaction. The commission's notification follows an investigation into the antitrust aspects of the proposed acquisition following both parties' Hart-Scott-Rodino Act filings.

A special meeting of Medco stockholders will be held Nov. 18 to vote on the merger and the formal merger agreement.

LUMBER FUTURES SOAR

ON STRONG CASH PRICES

CHICAGO - Futures prices for lumber here were sharply higher on active commercial buying interest tied to continued strength in cash lumber prices.

The January 1994 futures contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was up the daily permissible limit of $10 a 1,000 board feet, with limitless November up $12.20 and near an eight-month high of $403. This was the highest level since hitting $401.50 March 22.

British Columbia spruce 2-by-4s Friday sold as high as $410, with asking prices mostly around $400 Monday.

A few mills sold lumber at $395 early Monday. But most held asking prices at higher levels or were not offering lumber for sale, citing a lack of available stocks.

RTZ COPPER OUTPUT

ROSE IN THIRD QUARTER

London - U.K.'s mining and industrial group RTZ PLC Monday announced an increase in both mined and refined copper production during third quarter 1993.

RTZ said mined copper output totaled 144,600 metric tons in the third quarter, compared with 135,600 metric tons in the same period last year.

RTZ attributed the higher mine output to production from the new Flambeau mine in the United States.

Refined copper production totaled 49,600 metric tons last quarter, compared with 46,100 metric tons last year.

Tin production from RTZ's 49 percent holding in Neves Corvo in Southern Portugal was more than double that in the corresponding period in 1992, "when output was affected by a temporary lack of availability of higher-grade ore,"

RTZ said.

SMITHKLINE OFFERING

REBATES ON TAGAMET

PHILADELPHIA - SmithKline Beecham Corp. said Monday it is offering rebates of $10 off each qualifying prescription of its ulcer drug Tagamet.

The patent for Tagamet expires in May 1994. Mylan Laboratories has won Federal Drug Administration approval to produce a generic version next May.

It said the drug has been "the least expensive of the H2-receptor antagonist drugs for treating duodenal ulcers" for years.

By contrast, it said, Glaxo Holdings PLC's Zantac, the most frequently prescribed H2-receptor antagonist, is the most expensive. It's patent expires in the year 2002.

SmithKline said Tagamet rebate coupons are available through physicians' offices and retail pharmacies.

After having a Tagamet prescription filled, SmithKline said, a consumer can mail a coupon and proof-of-purchase to the address specified on the coupon.