Viagra Ads Pulled

After FDA Complaint

Pfizer Inc. began pulling two television advertisements for its Viagra impotence drug after the Food and Drug Administration said the "Wild Thing" commercials made unsubstantiated claims about a return of sexual desire. In a letter released yesterday, the FDA said the 30- and 15-second ads also failed to mention major side effects and why some patients should not take Viagra.

The ads, with a voice-over that includes "Remember that guy who used to be called 'Wild Thing'?" and later says "He's back," additionally failed to mention the specific condition Viagra is intended for -- erectile dysfunction, the FDA said.

The FDA said Pfizer implied that the man seen in the ads had returned to a previous level of sexual desire and activity.

Also yesterday, the makers of Viagra and the narcotic painkiller OxyContin said they will begin to add radio transmitters to bottles of their pills being shipped to some wholesalers and pharmacies to fight counterfeiting.

The technology will allow the medicines to be tracked electronically from production plant to pharmacy to combat the small but growing problem of drug counterfeiting.

U.S. Proposes Curbs

On Killing of Sharks

The United States yesterday proposed broad international measures to curb the slaughter of sharks in the Atlantic Ocean and encourage the study and preservation of threatened shark populations around the world.

The proposals were made at the annual meeting in New Orleans of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, which also covers conservation of other large fish.

The U.S. proposals include a ban on the practice known as shark finning, reduction of the number of fishing vessels that hunt sharks, collection of more data on shark populations, and development of fishing nets that would not harm sharks.

According to the United Nations, more than 100 million sharks are killed each year.

Justice Report Cites

Lag in DNA Database

Thousands of DNA profiles in unsolved criminal cases experience long delays before they are added to a national FBI database, jeopardizing their value in identifying suspected murderers, rapists and others, according to a Justice Department report.

The report by Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department's inspector general, identified more than 2,500 completed DNA profiles in unsolved cases that had not been added by state and local crime labs to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System in a timely fashion. Some had been waiting for nearly a year.

"The crime-solving potential of these profiles cannot be realized until they are uploaded into CODIS, where they can be matched to convicted offenders or other crime-scene evidence," Fine said in the report.

Groups Seek Cutback

In Logging Plans

Democrats and environmental groups expressed hope that changes in President Bush's Cabinet could moderate a White House plan to open about 60 million acres of federal forests to logging.

The deadline for public comments on the plan was yesterday. Opponents have sent more than 1.7 million comments to the U.S. Forest Service, according to environmental groups. The proposed rule by the Agriculture Department would give state governors more control over nearly a third of federal forests in their states. It has come under intense criticism by opponents who contend it is nothing more than a favor to timber companies.

-- From News Services