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News Briefs, part 2

Eight Federal Projects Win Presidential Design Awards

The Washington Post

Eight widely different federal projects--including the fields of architecture, historic preservation, civil engineering, electronic communication and the design of exhibitions, graphics and industrial products--have been selected to receive Presidential Awards for Design Excellence from President Clinton on Thursday in a long-delayed White House ceremony.

The announcement of the winning projects, selected in the spring of 1992, was postponed by the Bush administration presumably because of political opposition to the National Endowment for the Arts, which runs the quadrennial federal design competition. The Clinton administration by contrast was supportive but slow-moving. NEA Chairman Jane Alexander, appointed in September, is credited with finally getting the ceremony onto the White House calendar.

The exhibition design department of the National Gallery of Art --headed by Gaillard Ravenel with Mark Leithauser, Gordon Anson and Barbara Keyes--has the distinction of being the first program to win two of the presidential awards. Mounting 15 to 25 major exhibitions each year, the team was cited for installations that enhance "the visitor's understanding of the works of art on view." The department also earned a presidential citation in 1988.

As usual, most of the winners were recognized for a combination of traits, including aesthetic excellence, design ingenuity and economic performance. Mer Rouge Villas, a 33-unit public housing project in Mer Rouge, La., sponsored by the Farmers Home Administration of the Department of Agriculture, was cited both for "poetic and uplifting" architecture and for cost-effective construction using off-the-shelf components.

Upjohn Co. Withheld Crucial Data On Halcion, FDA Report Says

The Washington Post

The Upjohn Co. "has engaged in an ongoing pattern of misconduct" to ensure that its controversial sleeping pill, Halcion, would reach the market and stay there, according to a newly disclosed internal report of the Food and Drug Administration.

Upjohn denied the allegations. "Upjohn puts nothing ahead of patient health," said spokeswoman Kaye Bennett.

The report says Upjohn withheld data on side effects from FDA regulators. Halcion's critics say longterm use of the drug induces memory loss, depression, anxiety and violent behavior in some patients.

The FDA memo--dated April 4, 1994 and first reported in the current Newsweek--was written by investigators who examined the company between December 1991 and March 1992.

The FDA reanalyzed all data on Halcion use in 1992 and decided it was safe, but recommended stronger warnings about potential side effects.

The report cites Halcion study 321, conducted at a Jackson, Mich., prison. One-third of the side effects noted in that study were not reported to the FDA, and handwritten corrections to the original tabulations were omitted in the final report to the agency, the report says.