FDA Bans Antibiotic

Made for Poultry

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday banned the use of a poultry antibiotic made by Bayer, an unprecedented action aimed at curbing the spread of drug-resistant germs that infect people.

The FDA, which first proposed the ban five years ago, said the use of the drug, Baytril, in chickens has made it difficult for doctors to treat human patients with food poisoning. The drug is sometimes used by farmers to treat entire poultry flocks when a few birds show signs of respiratory disease.

FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford said Baytril "has not been shown to be safe for use in poultry." The ruling, effective Sept. 12, does not affect other approved uses of the drug.

The Union of Concerned Scientists hailed the ruling as a "big victory for public health." Bayer said it was "surprised and disappointed" and was weighing whether to appeal the decision in court.

Baytril is part of a family of potent antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, which physicians consider valuable for treating serious infections in people. The class of drugs includes Cipro, a well-known human antibiotic.

Health officials say the widespread use of the drug by livestock farmers was one reason that more germs are becoming resistant to other fluoroquinolones.

Mentor Corp. Implants

Are Near Approval

Silicone gel breast implants won conditional approval for general use in the U.S. market after a 13-year ban yesterday when U.S. health officials backed a version made by Mentor Corp.

The Food and Drug Administration said the device maker must satisfy a number of conditions before it receives final approval to sell the implants. FDA officials did not disclose the conditions.

Mentor said the conditions were "generally consistent" with recommendations by an expert advisory panel that met earlier this year.

It was not clear what the decision meant for competitor Inamed Corp., which had also sought approval for its implants.

In April, the FDA advisory panel voted 7 to 2 to recommend approval of Mentor's silicone implants and 5 to 4 against sales of Inamed's.

The United States banned silicone breast implants for most women in 1992 amid allegations that leaking silicone caused disabling, long-term illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Earliest Evidence Yet

Of Dinosaur Parenting

Dinosaur embryos found in South Africa have provided researchers with what may be the earliest evidence of parents caring for their young, according to a study in the journal Science.

The 190 million-year-old massospondylus embryos, which were on the verge of hatching when they were fossilized, lack teeth and have oddly proportioned bodies that suggest they would have required active care and feeding if they were to survive, according to the study by researchers at the University of Toronto at Mississauga.

The embryos from the Jurassic period support findings of Cretaceous-period fossils of dinosaurs sitting on clutches of eggs or of hatchlings found near their nests, said Robert Reisz, the biology professor who led the study.

"This is much more direct evidence of parental care, and it's 100 million years older than other findings suggesting dinosaurs acted this way," Reisz said in an interview. The embryos, along with other massospondylus skeletons, helped researchers construct a full life cycle of the dinosaurs, he said.

-- From News Services