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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 2014 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
An Orange County pain doctor caused the deaths of three patients by negligently prescribing them powerful narcotics, state medical authorities said in a complaint made public Friday. The Medical Board of California is seeking to suspend or revoke the license of Dr. Van H. Vu, who was linked to more than a dozen patient overdose deaths by a Times investigation in 2012. The medical board alleged Vu was grossly negligent in the deaths of a 22-year-old woman who had been planning her wedding, a 43-year-old mentally ill man who was prescribed drugs by Vu the day he was released from a hospital after an earlier overdose, and a 51-year-old single father who became addicted to pain drugs after a car accident.
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BUSINESS
March 21, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
U.S. lawmakers have asked Gilead Sciences Inc. to justify the price of its new $84,000 drug for hepatitis C patients amid growing concern about the high cost to taxpayers and consumers. In a letter to the Foster City, Calif., company Thursday, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and two other Democratic lawmakers asked Gilead Chief Executive John C. Martin to explain the rationale for selling Sovaldi for $1,000 per pill. Previous therapies for hepatitis C helped only about half of patients and had numerous side effects.
BUSINESS
March 21, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
U.S. lawmakers have asked Gilead Sciences Inc. to justify the price of its new $84,000 drug for hepatitis C patients amid growing concern about the high cost to taxpayers and consumers. In a letter to the Foster City, Calif., company, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and two other Democratic lawmakers asked Gilead Chief Executive John C. Martin to explain the rationale for selling Sovaldi for $1,000 per pill. Medical experts say previous therapies for hepatitis C helped only about half of patients and had numerous side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, anemia and depression.
SPORTS
March 19, 2014 | By David Wharton
The past year has been rough for Jamaican track and field, which came under heavy scrutiny after a string of high-profile athletes failed drug tests around the time of the 2013 national championships. On Wednesday, the Jamaicans got some good news. The World Anti-Doping Agency announced that the island nation had corrected a number of significant flaws in its drug control program. "They've done exactly what we've asked them to do to put their program into place," David Howman, WADA's director general, told the Associated Press.
OPINION
March 19, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
A month from now, if all goes according to plan in Oklahoma, two convicted murderers will be executed by lethal injection, and without knowing exactly how the killing cocktail was put together or by whom. Without that knowledge, they could well be denied their basic constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The death penalty, as we've written before, is an indefensible mess of immorality, gamed judicial processes, misapplication based on race and class, and public expense.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO - Four baggage handlers at Lindbergh Field have been indicted on charges of smuggling cocaine and methamphetamine aboard planes set for destinations across the country. Federal officials said it is believed to be the first drug prosecution of employees at Lindbergh Field, the region's international airport. The four, current or former employees of Delta Global Services, worked in tandem with seven drug couriers who were also indicted, officials said. The baggage handlers would take backpacks of drugs from the couriers and then, using their security badges, place a backpack aboard a plane, which the courier would then pick up when the plane reached New York City, Nashville, Detroit, Baltimore, Hawaii and other locations, according to the federal indictment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 2014 | By Alan Zarembo
It costs about $2,000 to buy an ounce of the illegal drug, the therapist said - enough for roughly 150 doses. She pays her longtime dealer in cash; he gives her a Ziploc bag of white powder. Back home, she scoops the contents into clear capsules. She calls it "the medicine"; others know it as MDMA, the active ingredient in the party drug Ecstasy. MDMA has been banned by the federal government since 1985 as a dangerous recreational drug with no medical value. But interest is rising in its potential to help people suffering from psychiatric or emotional problems.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 15, 2014 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
Last month, after years of futile goose-chasing, Mexican authorities captured the country's most-wanted criminal, the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. But another legendary Mexican desperado remains at large after 40 years, haunting the fantasies of an adoring public. She's Camelia la Texana, a comely San Antonio ingenue turned drug-smuggling queen who shot and killed her lover in a jealous rage. At least that's her story as immortalized in "Contrabando y Traición" ("Contraband and Betrayal")
OPINION
March 14, 2014
Re "The labels on generic drugs," Editorial, March 12 The Times objects to a Food and Drug Administration proposal to allow generic drug manufacturers to update safety labeling to warn of newly discovered risks, as brand-name manufacturers have long been permitted to do. The editorial is based on the misperception that the law requires branded and generic labeling to be identical. In fact, FDA regulations allow generic labeling to "include differences in expiration date, formulation, bioavailability, or pharmacokinetics," among other things.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 13, 2014 | By Kate Mather and Richard Winton
A day after being indicted by an Arizona grand jury, ex-NFL star Darren Sharper is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday morning -- his latest hearing amid mounting legal troubles that extend across five states. Los Angeles prosecutors charged Sharper in February with seven rape and drug counts, alleging he drugged and assaulted two women he met at a West Hollywood club. Court documents revealed he was under investigation for similar allegations in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Tempe, Ariz.
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