New fears raised over
compounded steroids

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it has received seven reports of illnesses in patients who took steroid injections compounded by a pharmacy in Tennessee.

The FDA said full clinical information about the patients is still being gathered, but it suggested that some of the problems were caused by infections and “at least one of these infections appears to be fungal in nature.”

The steroid in question is the same one — methylprednisolone acetate — that was linked to a meningitis outbreak last year that has killed 53 people and sickened more than 700.

That outbreak was linked to New England Compounding Center, based in Framingham, Mass. The FDA has since stepped up its oversight of pharmacies that compound drugs tailored to specific patient needs. The drug is often given to ease back pain.

Tennessee’s department of health said in a statement that reports of illness came from patients in Illinois and North Carolina who received injections of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate after Dec. 6, 2012.

— Reuters

Arellano Felix cartel leader pleads guilty

The last of the Arellano Felix brothers who founded an infamous Mexican drug cartel has pleaded guilty in San Diego to helping ship hundreds of millions of dollars in proceeds from the United States.

Eduardo Arellano Felix, 56, pleaded guilty Friday under an agreement with U.S. prosecutors that will send him to federal prison for 15 years. A medical doctor, he will be deported to Mexico when he completes his sentence.

He acknowledged that he had a major role in the finances of the Arellano Felix cartel from 1986 to 2002.

One of the brothers who founded the Tijuana-based cartel is dead and two others are in U.S. prisons.

— Associated Press

Guns plan opposed by
governor is approved

Gun owners in the only state still banning concealed weapons would win that right under a plan approved by the Illinois House on Friday, but the governor and other powerful Democrats oppose the plan because it would wipe out local gun ordinances — including Chicago’s ban on assault weapons.

The proposal, which passed 85 to 30, was brokered by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) as a way to abide by a federal appeals court’s ruling that ordered the state to adopt a concealed-
carry law by June 9. But the plan has drawn strong opposition, with Gov. Pat Quinn (D) calling it a “massive overreach” because of the way it would curb local firearms regulations.

The legislation also is opposed by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).

— Associated Press