Planet Money
2:41 am
Thu March 28, 2013

When A Famous Hospital Didn't Want An Expensive New Drug

Andrei Tchernov iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 9:03 am

Last year, a new drug called Zaltrap was approved as a kind of last-chance therapy for patients with colorectal cancer. Studies suggested Zaltrap worked almost exactly as well as an existing drug called Avastin. In fact, the main difference between the two drugs seemed to be the price.

"I was rather stunned," Dr. Leonard Saltz, who specializes in colorectal cancer, told me.

Zaltrap costs about $11,000 per month — about twice as much as Avastin, Saltz said.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
6:52 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Justices Cast Doubt On Federal Defense Of Marriage Act

This artist rendering shows Paul Clement (second from left) with Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. (seated, right), addressing the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Justices pictured are (from left) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan.
Dana Verkouteren AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:51 am

In the wake of the Supreme Court arguments Wednesday on the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex marriage supporters have reason to be optimistic. Known as DOMA, the law bars federal benefits for legally married same-sex couples, even though those same benefits are automatically given to heterosexual married couples.

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It's All Politics
6:13 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Ashley Judd Tweets She Won't Run For U.S. Senate

Ashley Judd watches Kentucky play Vanderbilt during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament on March 15 in Nashville.
Dave Martin AP

Actress Ashley Judd will not seek the Democratic nomination for Senate in Kentucky next year and challenge Republican Mitch McConnell, she announced Wednesday.

Using her Twitter account to end months of speculation, Judd wrote: "Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate."

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The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Ashley Judd Says She Is Not Running For Senate

Actress Ashley Judd addresses the crowd during a 2012 Tennesseans For Obama Benefit in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rick Diamond Getty Images

The actress Ashley Judd put an end to long-running rumors that she would challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky seat in 2014.

Judd tweeted her decision, saying:

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The Two-Way
5:47 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Obama's Labor Nominee Faces GOP Opposition Over His Role In A Supreme Court Case

Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 11:33 am

Thomas Perez, the president's nominee to lead the Department of Labor and a high-profile Latino advocate for civil rights, is scheduled for a Senate confirmation hearing April 18. But behind-the-scenes wrangling over his nomination, and his controversial role in a Supreme Court case, is already well under way.

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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Emerging Nations To Set Up Development Bank

BRICS leaders, from left, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a group picture during the BRICS 2013 Summit in Durban, South Africa, on Wednesday.
Sabelo Mngoma AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 11:53 am

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – emerging economies that collectively are referred to as BRICS – announced Wednesday the creation of a development bank to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations.

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Shots - Health News
5:16 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

'Sponge' Drug Shows Promise For Treating Hepatitis C

Particles of the hepatitis C virus are imaged with an electron microscope.
James Cavallini Science Source

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 12:31 pm

With an estimated 2 million baby boomers infected with hepatitis C, the disease has reached epidemic levels among Americans age 48 to 68.

Doctors can now cure about 70 percent of hepatitis C cases, but the drugs' side effects can be severe. And many Americans are still left with a disease that can cause liver failure and cancer.

So doctors have been desperate for better treatment options.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
4:58 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Justice Kennedy May Be Deciding Vote In Defense Of Marriage Act Case

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case challenging whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means the federal government can deny marriage benefits to same sex couples in states that allow gay marriage. Same-sex couples had reason to be optimistic afterward. Assuming the court can overcome procedural concerns, it looked as if a majority of justices was ready to strike down DOMA.

Around the Nation
4:58 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

86-Year-Old Music Teacher A Hit Among Jailed N.C. Youths

For many inmates, Gordon's music class is their first. "But when they discover they have some talent, it's very exciting," she says.
Briana Duggan WFAE

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 8:55 pm

Prisons are notoriously difficult places to work in for obvious reasons. But one prison in North Carolina has an employee who is indispensable: a grandmother.

Millicent Gordon is not a guard or doctor — she's a music teacher. And she not only brings her warmth to the state's only youth prison, but her popular butterscotch candies, too.

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Before finding her way to public radio, Briana traveled throughout South America, Europe, and the Middle East in the pursuit of adventure. When she returned to Charlotte, she found that there was much exploration to do in her own hometown. She now reports on the area's arts & culture as part of the Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance (CAJA), a consortium of local media dedicated to covering the arts.

Briana graduated from South Mecklenburg High School, and later UNC-Chapel Hill, with a degree in International Relations.

In her free time, Briana likes to practice her Spanish, and her dance moves, at the local salsa clubs.

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