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Glucophage XR coupons offered

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said it will offer coupons in March for a free month's supply of Glucophage XR, the once-a-day version of the top-selling U.S. pill for diabetes.

The offer will be made through ads in newspapers and on the Web site next month, said Laney Shapero, a company spokeswoman. Patients will need a prescription from their doctor to get the medicine, Shapero said.

Glucophage helps people with adult onset, or Type 2, diabetes better use their natural supply of insulin. Insulin helps escort glucose into cells, where it is used for energy. In juvenile onset, or Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn't produce insulin at all.

Bausch & Lomb reports loss

ROCHESTER (Bloomberg) -- Bausch & Lomb, the third-biggest maker of contact lenses, said it had a fourth-quarter loss after taking a charge of $15 million, or 18 cents a share, to settle a class-action antitrust lawsuit.

The company will give eligible U.S. consumers benefits packages worth more than $120 each to settle claims that it conspired with optometrists, the American Optometric Association and two other manufacturers to refuse to sell contact lenses to mail-order companies and other distributors.

The settlement of the suit, which dates back to 1994, will result in a fourth-quarter loss of $10.4 million, or 9 cents a share, company spokeswoman Margaret Graham said. Bausch & Lomb, whose products include ReNu and Sensitive Eyes solutions, had reported fourth-quarter net income of $4.6 million, or 9 cents, on Jan. 25.

Northwest CEO steps down

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- John H. Dasburg is stepping down as president and chief executive officer of Northwest Airlines for a return to the restaurant industry as the head of Burger King Corp., the airline announced Monday.

Dasburg, 58, will formally resign from Northwest April 1, when he will become chairman, chief executive officer and president of Burger King, a Miami-based subsidiary of Diageo PLC. Before coming to Northwest, Dasburg was executive vice president of Marriott Corp. and president of Marriott's Lodging Group.

His departure comes in the midst of a cooling off period in a bitter long-running contract dispute with Northwest's mechanics, who have scheduled a strike vote March 2. The airline also recently announced the resignation of longtime spokesman Jon Austin.

Coke to promote Harry Potter

ATLANTA (Bloomberg) -- Coca-Cola Co. has agreed to become the sole worldwide marketing partner for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," a children's film by AOL Time Warner's Warner Bros. Pictures unit.

Coca-Cola, the largest soft-drink maker, will help promote both the motion picture and subsequent video, the companies said in a statement distributed by Business Wire. Marketing programs will include Coca-Cola's flagship brand, Hi-C and Minute Maid.

The companies said Coca-Cola will develop reading initiatives in communities as part of its plan to promote the film, which is based on a character in the best-selling children's book series. AOL Time Warner, the largest Internet and media company, expects to release the movie in November.

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