FDA backtracks on drug removal
Two weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would remove midodrine from the market because the drug's maker never confirmed that the medicine — approved in 1996 under an abbreviated process — actually worked against dizziness and fainting.
But 100,000 patients take midodrine for conditions many say would otherwise be disabling, and many flooded the agency with complaints. So Friday, top FDA officials announced that they would continue to allow midodrine to be sold.
"In a different situation, we might act differently," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner. "But in this case, it does not make sense to pull access to the drug while we get better data."
Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the agency's drug center agreed: "Patients are out there thinking doom is about to fall, and they can't go about their normal business," she said.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand
Earthquake shakes town but injures few
A powerful, 7.1-magnitude earthquake damaged buildings, cut power and knocked fleeing residents off their feet on New Zealand's South Island early today, but there were no deaths and only two injuries reported.
Panicked residents in their pajamas ran into the streets of the southern city of Christchurch after the pre-dawn quake, residents said. There were reports of some people trapped in damaged buildings — though none appeared to be crushed by rubble — and a few looters broke into some of the damaged shops in the city of 400,000, authorities said.
Chimneys and walls had fallen from older buildings, roads had been blocked, traffic lights out and power, gas and water supplies disrupted, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said.
Ex-GOP official pleads to theft of $840,000
A former National Republican Congressional Committee treasurer has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $840,000 from several political committees, including more than $670,000 from the congressional committee.
Christopher J. Ward of Bethesda, Md., who has been under investigation for some time, entered the guilty plea Friday in federal court in Washington.
Ward was treasurer of the NRCC from 2003 to 2007. He admitted in court papers that he transferred money into his personal account from an account used to operate an annual fundraising dinner with then-President George W. Bush.
PASADENA, Calif.: A federal appeals court has overturned a businessman's tax fraud conviction because the Los Angeles judge in 2005 didn't postpone the case so the man could be at his son's deathbed. A new trial was ordered.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. A restaurant has agreed to stop serving "dancing shrimp," in which lemon juice is put on the live shrimps' exposed flesh so they would writhe as they were eaten.
WASHINGTON: On Sept. 21 Barack Obama is awarding a posthumous Medal of Honor to Richard Etchberger, an Air Force chief master sergeant who braved enemy fire to help three wounded comrades before being killed in Laos in 1968.
LEAVENWORTH, Kan.: Families of a group of soldiers and Marines convicted of killing Iraqi civilians during the war will lead a motorcycle rally today not far from where the men, known as the "Leavenworth 10" are being held, hoping to draw attention to what they call the injustice in their sons' sentences.
DENVER: A federal appeals court has thrown out a jury verdict and a $926 million award to thousands of Colorado homeowners in a lawsuit involving plutonium contamination from a now-defunct Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant.