settlement over drug to bring Florida $4M
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Thursday that AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP will pay $68.5 million as part of a multistate settlement over allegations that the drug developer promoted its blockbuster psychiatric drug Seroquel for insomnia, Alzheimer's and other unapproved uses. Florida and 36 other states will share in the settlement, and Florida's share is just over $4 million. The states alleged that salespeople for AstraZeneca promoted Seroquel for unapproved uses and did not disclose side effects of the pill, which include weight gain and muscle spasms. Seroquel is approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The drug, approved in 1997, is the company's second-best seller, with U.S. sales of $5.3 billion last year.
Patriot Act rules pass Senate panel
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a three-year extension of three post-Sept. 11 surveillance practices but voted to end another one. The panel opposed an investigative tool, known as national security letters, that compels businesses to turn over customer records without a judge's orders. The Patriot Act provisions that were approved through 2013 include the use of roving wiretaps, authority to obtain court-approved access to business records, and secret surveillance of non-American suspects not linked to specific terrorist groups. The measure now goes to the full Senate.
Study: Rising seas will affect Navy
The Navy and Coast Guard need to prepare for more missions in the Arctic and plan for potential damage to bases from rising sea levels, as global warming increases, the National Research Council said Thursday. "Naval forces need to monitor more closely and start preparing now for projected challenges climate change will present in the future," Frank Bowman, a retired Navy admiral who was co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report, said in a statement. The new analysis noted that ocean sea lanes could be regularly open across the Arctic by 2030 as rising temperatures continue to melt the sea ice.
Ex-prosecutor is headed for prison
Maine's former top drug prosecutor is going to prison for 16 years after his conviction on charges of possessing child pornography. U.S. District Judge John Woodcock imposed the sentence Thursday on James Cameron, 48, who was convicted last summer of 13 counts of transporting, receiving and possessing child pornography. The porn was discovered on computers seized from Cameron's home in December 2007. At the time, he was an assistant attorney general.
Ex-judge sentenced over voter fraud
Former Clay County Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle, 67, was sentenced to more than 26 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to gain power and control politics in an eastern Kentucky county. Maricle and seven others were convicted in March 2010 of multiple charges, including racketeering, money laundering and voter fraud. Prosecutors said more than 8,000 people were paid $50 each for their votes in one election and 150 votes were stolen by changing voting machines.