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Around the state

Vaccine price-gouging allegations settled

By wire services
Published May 12, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - A Fort Lauderdale drug wholesaler reached a settlement with state Attorney General Charlie Crist over allegations that it jacked up the price of flu vaccine during a shortage last year, Crist's office announced Wednesday.

ASAP Meds Inc., which does business as Meds-Stat, will pay more than $220,000 in reparations under the agreement. The company agreed in October to no longer buy or sell flu vaccine and turned over its small inventory to the state.

The nation's flu vaccine supply was cut in half when regulators in Britain shut down a major manufacturer there because of concerns about contamination of its product, just as the flu season was starting.

Crist alleged that Meds-Stat soon started quoting prices as high as $900 a vial for vaccine that previously sold for as low as $63.

Canopy saves woman in nine-story fall

FORT LAUDERDALE - A 70-year-old woman survived a nine-story fall from her condominium Wednesday when she landed on a canopy.

Gloria Jummati was cleaning her balcony at Coral Ridge Towers when she fell and landed on a first-floor canopy, according to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue.

Jummati, alert and talking when rescuers arrived, was taken to Broward General Medical Center with injuries that weren't life-threatening.

Officials won't evict eagles for condos

NAPLES - When a North Naples condominium complex was approved in December 2000, the developer promised to wait for Mother Nature to topple a dead pine tree where a pair of eagles were nesting.

But more than four years have passed, the tree still stands, and the eagles are still nesting in it. Now Signature Properties, estimating it's losing $8-million to $12-million every year construction is delayed, wants to go ahead with the 590-unit Cocohatchee Bay project, with or without the tree.

It offered to build a $250,000 fake tree as a substitute or preserve 100 acres of wilderness off site.

But Collier County commissioners stuck to their guns Tuesday and refused on a 4-1 vote to allow construction to start before the tree falls.

The stage may be set for a lawsuit.

"I was surprised that the county chose the path that they did," said Don Corace, a principal with Signature. "It is unfortunate, but we're going to prevail in the long run."

The local Audubon Society and the Florida Wildlife Federation backed the developer's request, based on the alternatives offered for wildlife protection.

But commissioners thought holding the developer to its promise was more important.

"I think we have to do the right thing and I think we did that," commission Chairman Fred Coyle said.

[Last modified May 12, 2005, 00:30:14]

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