Machines that make one kind of pill often have traces of others — an issue so serious it can jeopardize Olympic dreams

Freshly printed capsules at a plant in South Carolina. Photo: Ariana Lindquist/Bloomberg

By Anna Edney

Brady Ellison, a three-time U.S. Olympic medalist in archery, is going for gold in Tokyo, though he was almost disqualified. Pills he takes for a thyroid condition contained traces of a drug banned by anti-doping authorities. “I had absolutely no clue,” says Ellison, 32.

While few have access to Olympics substance testing, many would find themselves in a similar situation if they did. The trillion-dollar prescription-drug industry has a problem it doesn’t like to talk about and doesn’t fully understand. …

Dan Purcell — a former victim turned sleuth and enforcer — started a company that helps adult content creators when their content gets stolen

Purcell’s software tracks down pilfered OnlyFans content. Photo: Deirdre Brennan for Bloomberg Businessweek

By Amy Thomson and Drake Bennett

Dan Purcell’s transformation into a content protection vigilante began several years ago, with a moment of personal reckoning. The Irish computer programmer was living in California when his girlfriend at the time persuaded him to perform live on Chaturbate, a site that hosts adult web shows. He did several webcasts with her before deciding it wasn’t for him. He moved on, went back to Ireland, and never thought about it again — until 2018, when his new girlfriend angrily presented him with the videos. “It was very embarrassing,” he says, “very, very, very humiliating.”

Horacio Gutierrez has done more than almost anyone to push the narrative of the iPhone maker as an abusive monopolist

Photo: Devin Christopher for Bloomberg Businessweek

By Lucas Shaw

Horacio Gutierrez made his name in U.S. corporate law two decades ago defending Microsoft Corp. against charges of anticompetitive behavior in the first major antitrust case of the internet age. As the tech industry is once again dominated by talk of monopolies, Gutierrez, now Spotify Technology SA’s chief legal officer, has switched sides. For the past five years he’s led Spotify’s campaign against Apple Inc., one of a series of antitrust actions with the potential to make an even greater impact than the Microsoft litigation.

While the shift in public opinion about the tech industry in recent…

The orbital economy goes way beyond the dreams of billionaire spacemen

Photo Illustration: 731; Photos: Bloomberg (1); Getty Images (2)

By Ashlee Vance

Richard Branson has been to space. Jeff Bezos will soon visit, too. Rich people have done this sort of thing before, but Branson and Bezos didn’t just pay for a ticket — they paid for the spaceships. Individuals, if they’re wealthy enough, are no longer beholden to government craft when they want to leave the planet for a little while.

These two voyages have generated an awful lot of takes. Some have celebrated the engineering and persistence required to fly a bunch of humans into space and bring them back safely, or the wonder of pushing the…

The idea of a government-backed virtual currency has support in policy circles, but Wall Street sees a threat to its consumer-finance dominion

Illustration: Nichole Shinn for Bloomberg Businessweek

By Christopher Condon

Imagine logging on to your own account with the U.S. Federal Reserve. With your laptop or phone, you could zap cash anywhere instantly. There’d be no middlemen, no fees, no waiting for deposits or payments to clear.

That vision sums up the appeal of the digital dollar, the dream of futurists and the bane of bankers. It’s not the Bitcoin bros and other cryptocurrency fans pushing the disruptive idea but America’s financial and political elite. Fed Chair Jerome Powell promises fresh research and a set of policy questions for Congress to ponder this summer. J. Christopher Giancarlo…

Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini are embracing regulation. “We’re playing the long game,” says Cameron Winklevoss

Cameron Winklevoss, president and co-founder of Gemini Trust Co. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

By Katherine Chiglinsky, Olga Kharif and Matthew Leising

In the wild world of cryptocurrency exchanges, one strategy never seemed to pay off: embracing regulation.

Take Gemini, started by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. While it was plastering posters in New York subways a few years ago, declaring there was “Finally, a regulated place to buy, sell and store crypto,” an exchange called Binance — with no clear headquarters and a mysterious structure — quietly took the top spot among the world’s cryptocurrency exchanges.

Suddenly, touting adherence to the rulebook looks very smart. Although Binance Holdings Ltd. turns away American customers…

When Covid-19 struck, thousands of federal prisoners were released to home confinement. Now they’re in limbo, fearing the government will soon order them back.

Carr. Photo: Schaun Champion for Bloomberg Businessweek

By David Yaffe-Bellany

The cafeteria at the federal prison camp in Fairton, N.J., is rarely the site of much celebration. But one afternoon in spring 2020, the room was buzzing. A provision of the pandemic-relief package passed by Congress had given some of the inmates the chance to leave prison early and serve time under home confinement.

With dozens of prisoners gathered in the cafeteria, a Bureau of Prisons official read aloud a list of inmates who’d qualified for the new program. The names were greeted with high-fives and cheering. Among them was Robert Lustyik, an ex-F.B.I. agent who was…

Elon Musk won advantages unheard of for Western businesses. Then came the reality check.

Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

By Matthew Campbell

Huang Jiaxue, a businessman in Wenzhou in eastern China, was thrilled when he got his Tesla Model 3 late last year. The car was good-looking, environmentally friendly, and even domestically built, having rolled off the line at California-based Tesla Inc.’s vast factory in Shanghai. But in May he sold it, recouping only about 75% of the 249,900 yuan ($38,600) he paid. “It’s out of safety concerns,” Huang said, citing reports on Chinese social media, vigorously disputed by Tesla, about the brakes failing in its vehicles. “Reading about it every day, I’ve been afraid of driving.”

There’s little-to-no…

The company won’t change its ways without adopting new measures of success

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on a videoconference during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on Oct. 28, 2020. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg

By Sarah Frier

Facebook Inc.’s critics have long pleaded with the company to revise its data-mining business model, tweak its algorithm to prevent misinformation and hate speech from going viral, and stop its practice of copying and acquiring competitors. But its investors have consistently delivered a different message: Keep up the good work. Facebook’s stock price has climbed relentlessly, and on June 28 the company became the fastest to reach a $1 trillion market value, just 17 years after its founding and nine years after it went public.

The news that triggered the milestone was a judge’s dismissal of a…

Red tape, fraud-prevention efforts, and overwhelmed agencies left many Americans without benefits

Barb Ashbrook, with Jennifer Terry in the background. Photo: John-David Richardson for Bloomberg Businessweek

By Shawn Donnan and Reade Pickert

Barb Ashbrook, who lost her part-time job at a food court in downtown Indianapolis in March 2020, was denied unemployment benefits because she was earning more than $121 a week from a second job at a Dollar Tree store. Ray Rand, laid off by an RV rental company in Las Vegas, was rejected after missing a 48-hour deadline to respond to an inquiry while in the hospital. Anthony Barela, an Albuquerque barber, spent months trying to find out why he didn’t get benefits.

They’re three of at least 9 million Americans thrown out of…

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