Bipartisan bill raises FDA funds
WASHINGTON - A measure that would generate $6 billion in fees over five years for the Food and Drug Administration is headed to President Obama for his signature after passing the Senate on Tuesday, a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation in a divided Congress.
Although the FDA gets money from Congress each year, a big chunk of its budget comes from fees the agency negotiates with the makers of brand-name drugs and medical devices. The Senate bill, which passed 92-4, would renew those fee agreements, but also, for the first time, would require payments from generic-drug companiess and from other firms in the industry.
If Congress had failed to act, the fee programs would have expired Sept. 30, potentially disrupting the drug-approval process. - AP
Health insurers' rebates in Mass.
BOSTON - State officials say Massachusetts residents and small employers will benefit from $56.8 million in health-insurance rebates.
Insurance commissioner Joseph Murphy said Tuesday that the rebates, from five of the state's largest insurers, would be delivered to about 50,000 individual policy holders and 50,000 small businesses in the state.
State officials said the total rebate is $10 million more than what carriers estimated and reported to the Division of Insurance. Under state law, the rebates reflect a portion of the difference between what insurers charged for premiums and what they spent on health-care costs last year. - AP
1863 document bought for $2M
NEW YORK - A rare, original copy of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation sold Tuesday at a New York auction for more than $2 million.
It's the second-highest price ever paid for a Lincoln-signed proclamation - after one owned by the late Sen. Robert Kennedy that two years ago went for $3.8 million.
The latest copy of the 1863 document ordering the freeing of slaves, which was auctioned at the Robert Siegel Auction Galleries, went to David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group investment firm. The American seller remained anonymous. The document is expected to go on public exhibit somewhere in Washington. - AP
Debby hits land, heads to Atlantic
ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. - Along the Florida Panhandle, vacationers wore ponchos instead of swimsuits at the peak of the summer season because of the tropical storm, which has drenched Florida for at least four days straight.
Debby finally blew ashore Tuesday near Steinhatchee in the Big Bend area, the crook of Florida's elbow. It had sustained winds near 40 m.p.h., barely a tropical storm. It was expected to cross the state and head Wednesday into the Atlantic. - AP