WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public that most Internet pharmacies are fraudulent, selling drugs that likely are counterfeit and could harm or even kill people.
So the FDA has just launched a national campaign, called BeSafeRx, to alert the public to the danger.
A recent survey by the agency found nearly one in four Internet shoppers has bought prescription drugs online.
Most don't realize that only about 3 percent of online pharmacies are licensed and following the law. The rest likely are selling fake drugs that won't help patients get better and may contain arsenic or other poisons.
A new website, at www.FDA.gov/BeSafeRx , shows people how to find safe online pharmacies. The FDA is working with other government agencies, doctors and pharmacists to spread the word.
Awards $290M in teacher grants: The Obama administration is awarding $290 million in grants to reward top teachers and boost opportunities for teachers who work in impoverished schools. The Department of Education says the funds will flow to almost 1,000 schools in 18 states plus the District of Columbia. The program is intended to encourage school districts to incentivize good teaching through faculty evaluations and performance-based pay. Some of the grants focus on science and math teachers, which President Barack Obama has said is a top priority. Public school systems in New York and Los Angeles will use the funds for a compensation program that's based on career ladders.
Accused of cancer scam: When Lori Stilley told her friends and family that she had bladder cancer, they delivered meals, held raffles and a T-shirt sale, hastily planned and paid for her wedding and raised more than $10,000 for her treatment. But prosecutors say it was all a scam. Stilley, a 40-year-old who lives in Delran, N.J., was charged Wednesday with theft by deception, charges her lawyer denies. An investigation found that Stilley had never been treated for nor diagnosed with cancer, prosecutors said. Her sister says she was the one who turned in Stilley. "I just did it for her to get help and for my niece and nephew, too, to feel safe," Lori Digiovanni told WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.
Rate hits record low 3.40 percent: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell again to new record lows. The decline suggests the Federal Reserve's stimulus efforts may be having an impact on mortgage rates. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.40 percent. That's down from last week's rate of 3.49 percent, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, fell to 2.73 percent, down from the record low of 2.77 percent last week. The Fed is spending $40 billion a month to buy mortgage-backed securities. The goal is to lower mortgage rates and help the housing recovery. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke says the program will continue until there is substantial improvement in the job market.
Trailer settlements approved: U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt gave his final approval Thursday in New Orleans to a $42.6 million class-action settlement between companies that made and installed government-issued trailers after hurricanes in 2005 and Gulf Coast storm victims who claim they were exposed to hazardous fumes while living in the shelters. Engelhardt ruled from the bench after hearing from attorneys who brokered a deal resolving nearly all remaining court claims over elevated levels of formaldehyde in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following hurricanes Katrina and Rita.