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Pharmacist accused of diluting cancer drugs



Published: Wed, August 15, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Pharmacist accusedof diluting cancer drugs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Investigators were trying to locate cancer patients who may have received improper dosages of chemotherapy drugs because of a pharmacist's alleged plot to save money.

Robert R. Courtney, 48, is accused of dispensing two drugs -- Taxol and Gemzar -- in amounts that were a fraction of what had been prescribed.

Federal authorities said some intravenous drug bags mixed at Courtney's pharmacy contained between 39 percent and less than 1 percent of the dose ordered by doctors.

The dilution would have saved about $780 for one order of the drugs, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

It was not immediately known how many patients were affected.

"There could literally be hundreds of patients who received improper dosages," FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said Tuesday.

Courtney was expected to surrender to the FBI today on a single felony count of misbranding and adulteration of a drug, according to his attorney, Jean Paul Bradshaw.

Federal agents seized records from Courtney's Research Medical Tower Pharmacy on Monday out of a concern for public health, Lanza said

J.C. Penney says itwill pull television ad

PLANO, Texas -- J.C. Penney Co. says it will pull a television commercial that showed a mother encouraging her daughter to dress more provocatively.

The ad, timed for back-to-school sales, had been running nationwide for about a week, promoting a popular style of hip-hugging jeans often worn with a bare midriff.

The commercial showed a teen-age girl trying on low-cut jeans only to be interrupted by her mother.

"You're not going to school dressed like that, are you?" the woman asked.

Then the mother tugged the jeans down lower on the girl's hips to show how they should be worn.

The commercial drew complaints to the retailer and on syndicated radio talk shows.

"After much consideration, J.C. Penney had decided to pull the commercial," Penney spokesman Tim Lyons said.

Charges filed againstSt. Louis lawmaker

ST. LOUIS -- Charges were filed Tuesday against a female member of the board of aldermen who reportedly urinated in a waste basket rather than yield the floor during a filibuster.

City Counselor Patricia A. Hageman filed the misdemeanor charge against Irene Smith, accusing her of violating the city code barring lewd conduct.

Smith could face a fine of up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail, although jail time would be unusual for such an offense. No hearing date has been set.

"I can only emphasize that, at this stage in the proceeding, this was a routine determination of whether probable cause exists to issue the charge," Hageman said. She said she would have no further comment.

Calling the misdemeanor "very bogus," Smith said she was eager to see how the city satisfies its burden of proving she did anything wrong when no one knows whether she urinated.

"I don't know what they're charging me with since no one knows what I did," she said, refusing to clarify her actions on that day. "Why would I say what happened? I'm entitled to a trial, and we will have our day in court."

Politicians visit shrine

TOKYO -- Defying protests in Asia, conservative Japanese politicians, including five Cabinet ministers, flocked to a shrine for the war dead today to mark the 56th anniversary of the country's surrender in World War II.

The Yasukuni shrine visits, which are stridently opposed by China and South Korea, came as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi -- who went to the shrine on Monday -- and Emperor Akihito expressed regrets for the war in a separate ceremony in central Tokyo.

"Our country has caused many countries, especially our Asian neighbors, significant damage and pain," Koizumi said, adding that Japan can make amends by fostering peace and prosperity in the region.

The event at a concert hall in central Tokyo was a secular ceremony that honored both military and civilian dead. Akihito and Empress Michiko bowed before a huge bed of chrysanthemums while a tone rang marking the moment on Aug. 15, 1945, when Japan surrendered, days after two atomic bombs were dropped.

That ceremony, however, was overshadowed by the international stir over Koizumi's Yasukuni visit and increasing tensions between Tokyo and China and South Korea over the legacy of the war.

Associated Press




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