CPSC Head Defends Herself
The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission responded to Democratic lawmakers who called for her resignation this week, saying she is not opposed to increased funding or legal authority for the agency. Acting chairman Nancy Nord said in a statement that her position on a Senate measure designed to beef up her beleaguered agency had been distorted. "I am very troubled by the prospect that any time a federal agency official is critical of legislation pending before Congress, congressional leaders may seek to have that official silenced or even dismissed," Nord said.
She said she did not intend to resign.
Food Safety Director to Leave
Robert E. Brackett, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's food safety division, is leaving the agency at the end of the month. He will join the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents food, beverage and consumer-products companies, the group said in a statement. He will serve as senior vice president and chief science and regulatory affairs officer.
FTC Focusing on Competition
Federal Trade Commissioner Jon Leibowitz said the agency is focusing on competition, rather than privacy, in its review of the proposed Google-DoubleClick merger. At an FTC conference on behavioral online advertising, Leibowitz said regulators might step in to protect consumer privacy in the online marketing sphere. Still he said, "our analysis of the merger has got to be about competition and potential competition. It can't be about privacy, per se."
American Airlines sparked widespread airfare increases by raising U.S. round-trip prices $20. It came a day after low-fare AirTran boosted round-trip prices $10 on tickets purchased seven days or less before travel and $20 round trip for flights of more than 1,700 miles. Delta Air Lines matched American's increase, the seventh by a major U.S. airline since Sept. 1. United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines and US Airways Group are studying American's move, spokesmen said.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
MetroPCS Scraps Offer for Rival
MetroPCS Communications, the largest pay-as-you-go mobile phone service in the United States, scrapped its offer to buy Leap Wireless International for more than $4 billion, saying it wasn't able to have "meaningful" talks. Leap rejected the all-stock offer in September.
Device Makers Reveal Fees
The five biggest makers of hip- and knee-implant devices posted on their Web sites the names of 1,805 medical consultants they paid this year, including 46 doctors or organizations that got $1 million or more. Zimmer Holdings, Johnson & Johnson's Depuy Orthopedics, Smith & Nehphew, Biomet and Stryker did so under Sept. 27 agreements with U.S. prosecutors to settle claims that they paid kickbacks to surgeons who used their products.