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Saturday, May 24, 2003

FDA recalls bottles of counterfeit Lipitor WASHINGTON — An estimated 100,000 bottles labeled as the cholesterol-lowering medicine Lipitor are being recalled because they contain counterfeit pills, the Food and Drug Administration warned Friday.

The FDA said the fake pills were discovered after some health complaints but would not elaborate because a criminal investigation is under way.

The recall covers original 90-pill bottles. To spot the fake version, look for the words "Repackaged by MED-PRO Inc., Lexington, Neb." on the lower left corner of bottles that bear the following lot numbers: 20722V, expiration 09-2004; 04132V, expiration 01-2004; and 16942V, expiration 09-2004.

Patients who have those recalled bottles should not take the pills but return them to the pharmacy where they were bought.

Campaign finance law left alone by high court WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will leave the new campaign finance law in place for now, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said Friday.

Rehnquist turned down a request from interest groups such as the National Right to Life Committee and the Club for Growth to lift the law's restrictions on political ads until the high court considers whether the limits are constitutional.

"An act of Congress is presumed to be constitutional … and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act should remain in effect until the disposition of this case by the Supreme Court," Rehnquist wrote.

The unusually blunt language is contained in a letter the court sent to the interest groups' lawyer. It appears to put all the dozens of plaintiffs in the complicated political money case on notice that the high court will not interfere in the case yet.

The high court could hear the case in September, before the start of its regular term, according to a schedule being worked out by groups and individuals fighting and defending the law. That would probably mean a ruling just in time for the first presidential primary in January 2004, lawyers said.

U.S. officials close tribal casino in dispute TAMA, Iowa — Federal officials put up barricades Friday and shut down a lucrative Indian casino involved in a months-old dispute over who should lead the tribe.

The casino was ordered closed last week by federal regulators, who said the power struggle within the Meskwaki tribe violated gambling laws.

The dispute began last fall when tribal members raised questions about nepotism, misuse of funds, and tribal council meetings held in secret.

On March 26, the council was overthrown by a new group of leaders appointed by the eastern Iowa tribe's hereditary chief, Charles Old Bear. The new council took over control of the tribe's government and casino business.

The tribe tried to resolve the dispute with a special election Thursday, and all seven members of the new council won seats. Federal officials had said, however, that it was unlikely the vote would satisfy the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Colorado judge says jury can't rely on Bible BRIGHTON, Colo. — A judge threw out a convicted killer's death sentence Friday, saying the jury improperly relied on the "eye for an eye" teachings of the Bible to reach its decision.

Judge John Vigil ordered a new sentencing hearing for Robert Harlan, who was convicted in 1995 of kidnapping, raping and murdering Rhonda Maloney, 25. He also shot a passer-by who tried to help, leaving her paralyzed.

"If any case merits the death penalty, there cannot be serious debate about this case being that case," Vigil wrote. "The death penalty, however, must be imposed in a constitutional manner … Jury resort to biblical code has no place in a constitutional death penalty proceeding."

Harlan had appealed, arguing that the Bible is not part of Colorado law.

Prosecutors, who plan to appeal, said the use of biblical passages could not have influenced the verdict and that passages were only read for comfort and inspiration.

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