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Company to recall AIDS cream products

A St. Petersburg company accused of mailing bogus endorsement letters for its skin creams to AIDS patients has agreed to recall its products, a state official said.

ALPS South Corp., which has been marketing a skin lotion and ointment for AIDS patients, relinquished about 1,500 bottles of its products to drug regulators with the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, said Stephen Kindland, a health office spokesman.

In addition, ALPS officials agreed to mail retraction letters to about 50 members of the AIDS Coalition Pinellas County who may have received a fraudulent endorsement letter.

ALPS officials "are being very cooperative," Kindland said. "I don't think we'll see any repeat of this type of activity."

The letters, written on AIDS coalition letterhead, claimed that the coalition's director endorsed the skin cream. But AIDS coalition executive director Kathleen Farrell said she was "shocked and dismayed" at the claim, and said the coalition "vehemently denies any association with the company." Company officials could not be reached Friday.

Phil Gramm's wife makes campaign stop

SAFETY HARBOR _ Republican presidential candidate Phil Gramm is a decisive leader who will work hard to cut the size and scope of government, his wife, Wendy Lee Gramm, said Friday.

Mrs. Gramm completed a two-day campaign trip to Florida on Friday, and stopped to speak at a joint luncheon sponsored by two Republican women's clubs at the Safety Harbor Spa.

She said her husband, a U.S. senator from Texas, strongly spoke out against President Clinton's health care plan at a time when polls were showing 77-percent of the people wanted one. She said that was a good example of how her husband will fight unnecessary government spending.

"He doesn't just listen to the polls, and he says what he means . . . and we don't have a health care plan now as a result. And that's because of his leadership," she said.

The only audience question at Friday's luncheon came from Pinellas School Board member Susan Latvala, who asked about Gramm's plans for federal support of education.

Mrs. Gramm said her husband would abolish the federal Department of Education, and redistribute its $16-billion budget for local education needs.

Florida Secretary of State Sandra Mortham, a former Republican legislator from Largo, accompanied Mrs. Gramm on her trip. She is state director of the Gramm campaign.

Mortham said Florida is a key state for the Gramm campaign because it is the largest state without a hometown favorite. Gramm is strong in his native Texas and Pete Wilson would be strong in California, where he is governor. Although Bob Dole is from Kansas, political insiders consider him strong in New York.