ROUNDUP: FDA’s Web Site Logs Tobacco Sales to Minors
The FDA has launched a Web site designed to list retail establishments that sell tobacco products to minors, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. The site, www.fda.gov/op acom/campaigns/tobacco, is searchable by state, city, ZIP code or date of inspection. Stores caught selling tobacco to underage FDA compliance monitors are initially given warnings; repeated non-compliance with the law results in fines ranging from $250 to $10,000. Stores remaining in compliance receive letters of commendation. FDA compliance data from 43 states and territories between August 1997 and November 1999 revealed a national compliance rate average of 75% (Mitchell, 3/6).
Radiology.com this week launched the first Web-based medical image bank, allowing digitized x-rays, sonograms and CT scans to be stored, retrieved and transmitted online through a central repository. Offered under the brands ImageBank and PatientExpress, patients will be able to use the technology to control copies of their images and provide physicians with accessibility to them. Moreover, the image bank is expected to enable over "3,500 imaging centers and small hospitals to participate in digital medical imaging" through the pay-as-needed approach of the system. Previously, many independent radiologists and small hospitals were unable to use digital imaging due to the high costs of the picture archiving and communication service (Radiology.com release, 3/7).
Healtheon/WebMD Stock Down
After the company announced lackluster earnings last week, Healtheon/WebMD stock fell 17% on Monday, to close at 42-3/4, the Reuters/Contra Costa Times reports. The Atlanta-based firm reported fourth-quarter operating losses of $49.3 million before non-cash charges. But analysts say the results "may not matter going forward," given that with its recent acquisitions, Healtheon/WebMD is "a whole new company." Goldman Sachs analyst Steve Savas said, "The challenge will be for the company to execute successfully before it runs out of cushion, and before investors run out of patience with unclear metrics for performance" (3/6).
DoubleClick's Political Connection
Continuing efforts to fight off the bad publicity of "privacygate," the embattled DoubleClick has hired yet another executive with political connections, the New York Post reports. Last week, DoubleClick lured Jules Polonetsky away from his position as head of New York City's Consumer Affairs Department. The move is the third in as many months: both N.Y. Sen. Charles Schumer's (D) former Chief of Staff Josh Isay and former Human Resources Administration Director Ilene Marcus recently were brought on board. The hirings suggest that the company is attempting to bolster its presence in Washington during the FTC's investigation of its privacy practices, according to the Post. DoubleClick's stock plummeted 27.69% since the beginning of the year (3/7).