In brief: U.S. senator replaces chief of staff arrested in child porn case
Nashville, Tenn. – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has replaced his chief of staff after learning the staffer’s home was being searched as part of a child pornography investigation.
Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement Wednesday that it will be up to the courts to judge Ryan Loskarn, but “under these circumstances, he cannot continue to fulfill his duties as chief of staff.”
Alexander named his legislative director, David Cleary, as his new chief of staff.
Alexander said he was “stunned, surprised and disappointed” by the allegations against Loskarn.
U.S. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement that Loskarn was arrested based on probable cause for possession and distribution of child pornography charges.
Cymbalta generics coming to market
Washington – The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic versions of the blockbuster antidepressant Cymbalta, offering lower-cost access to one of the most widely prescribed treatments for depression, anxiety and other disorders.
Cymbalta is Eli Lilly & Co. Inc.’s best-selling drug and posted 2012 sales of $4.7 billion, making it the fifth-highest-selling medication in the world. The drug’s patent expired Wednesday, clearing the way for the launch of cheaper versions of the drug from generic drugmakers. Generic drugs often sell for a fraction of the price of the original branded product.
Besides depression, Cymbalta is also prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorder, diabetic nerve pain, fibromyalgia and forms of chronic pain.
The FDA said it approved six generic versions of the pill from drugmakers including Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., Sun Pharma Global and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Zimmerman assault case dropped
Miami – George Zimmerman will not face domestic violence charges because his girlfriend did not wish to pursue the case and there was scant evidence of a crime, a state prosecutor said Wednesday.
Samantha Scheibe’s decision not to cooperate and the lack of other corroborating evidence would have made the case difficult to prove, State Attorney Phil Archer in Seminole County said in a statement.
“There is no reasonable likelihood of a successful prosecution,” Archer said.
Zimmerman, 30, had faced charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief following a Nov. 18 confrontation at the central Florida house he shared with Scheibe. She initially told police Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of the house.
She recanted much of that in an affidavit filed this week in which she referred to Zimmerman as “my boyfriend” and said she wanted him back.
The arrest was one of a string of legal problems for Zimmerman since he was acquitted last summer of murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.