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News Briefs II

Genentech Sets Aside $50 Million For Settlement With Government

Los Angeles Times -- Genentech announced Monday that it has set aside $50 million to settle allegations that it had promoted human growth hormone for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The biotechnology company, in its quarterly earnings report, revealed that it had set aside the money for a potential “settlement in principle” it has negotiated with the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco.

No charges have been filed against Genentech or its officials, but the company has disclosed since the beginning of a federal grand jury investigation in 1995 that government prosecutors have targeted the “past clinical, sales and marketing activities associated with human growth hormone.”

In its most recent annual report, filed earlier this year, the company noted that it had received grand jury subpoenas on four occasions from 1995 through 1998.

The company acknowledged Monday that it has reached a tentative settlement with government prosecutors, which could be finalized as early as this week. “We want to put it behind us,” said Genentech spokeswoman Marie Kennedy. “We can stay focused on our goals and objectives.”

GOP Leaders Push Tax Reform


House and Senate GOP leaders staged a national “town hall meeting” here Monday in a bid to briefly shift attention from the war in Kosovo to their tax reform proposals.

Joined by Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) and roughly 250 Republican activists, the congressional leaders focused their remarks on how to convert a portion of the current budget surplus into lower taxes on everything from capital gains to a family’s inheritance.

“We want you to be able to keep more of your money,” declared Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles, R-Okla. “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”

Nickles was accompanied by House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey, R-Tex., Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-Va., and Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va.

The House GOP leadership had planned to devote part of last week to publicizing its balanced budget resolution, but scrapped the five-city tour in light of the Kosovo hostilities.

With the deadline for filing taxes three days away, both lawmakers and audience members questioned why citizens are taxed as many as three times on some parts of their income.

While the GOP leaders outlined a range of tax cuts, Warner cautioned against “divisions between the bodies” over how to reduce taxes and urged his colleagues to craft “one, good tax bill.”