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Thursday, February 11, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Nation

Nation -- News In Brief

Times News Services

BOARD SOUGHT TO REGULATE COSTS OF U.S. DRUGS

WASHINGTON - The chairman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee called yesterday for the creation of a Canadian-style government board to regulate prescription drug prices.

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., estimated that it could save $60 billion over the next decade.

Stark, who will be a key player in upcoming efforts to overhaul the national health-care system, released a study by Stephen Schondelmeyer, a University of Minnesota pharmacy professor, indicating that without government intervention Americans could be spending $86 billion a year on prescription drugs in 2003 - more than twice today's spending.

Stark proposes that President Clinton appoint a board to investigate cases in which drug prices rise more than 2 percentage points faster than the inflation rate.

If those increases are not justified, the board could shorten the patent lives of the drugs and revoke the tax incentives that helped finance their development.

In Canada, where a similar system is in place, consumers pay 32 percent less than Americans for drugs, Stark said.

CIA SUSPECT MAY HAVE FLED; MAN HAD CLEARANCE TO AGENCY

WASHINGTON - Authorities puzzling over the shooting deaths of two CIA employees suspect that the man wanted in the case fled to his native Pakistan.

It also was disclosed yesterday that the suspect, Mir Aimal Kansi, worked for a courier service owned by a former CIA official's son. It had a security clearance to make deliveries to the agency.

Kansi has been charged with capital murder in the Jan. 25 shootings that left two employees dead and three wounded outside CIA headquarters in Virginia.

Family sources in Pakistan said today that Kansi returned home this month but disappeared four days ago.

Pakistan's interior minister, Shujaat Hussein, said "we have a treaty with the U.S. Once we find him, we will extradite him."

Victor Marchetti, who was a top aide to former CIA Director Richard Helms, said police and FBI agents questioned him about Kansi. He said Kansi had worked for the courier service owned by his son for the past six months.

DRUG SUSPECT KILLS HIMSELF IN OWN SHOTGUN BOOBY TRAP

SUMPTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A man apparently trying to protect a marijuana-growing operation with a shotgun booby trap accidentally tripped the trigger, killing himself, state police said yesterday.

Kenneth Sutherland, 38, died of massive blood loss from a thigh wound Tuesday.

The General Motors Willow Run plant worker's drug operation already was being investigated after local youths were caught with marijuana plants.

On Tuesday, Sutherland apparently was trying to prevent further break-ins.

Police said Sutherland's shotgun was nailed to a chair and the trigger was rigged with a wire through a locked wooden door and attached to the outer screen door.

COMMON POLLUTANT TREATING LUNG AILMENTS, STUDY SHOWS

Nitric oxide, a common gas usually considered a pollutant, is becoming a surprisingly effective treatment for deadly lung ailments, doctors reported yesterday.

When used in small, controlled doses mixed with air, the gas successfully treated eight out of 10 patients with adult respiratory-distress syndrome, in which the lungs fill with fluid. Normally, about half would have died. The condition, usually triggered by trauma or infection, kills up to 90,000 Americans a year.

Anesthesiologist Warren Zapol of Massachusetts General Hospital reported on his research in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

Similar doses of nitric oxide also are being used to rescue "blue babies," who are born deprived of oxygen because of heart or lung disorders, said Zapol.

In the lung, the experiments show, nitric oxide seems to improve the flow of blood, allowing more blood to pick up oxygen without causing a dangerous decrease in blood pressure. It does this by dilating blood vessels in parts of the lung where oxygen is being exchanged, Zapol said.

Blood vessels in damaged parts of the lung are left unchanged; they do not relax and so do not add more fluid to already flooded lungs.

Inhaling nitric oxide "makes the lungs smarter," Zapol said.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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