Breast cancer drug approved — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a new type of drug that combines the widely used breast cancer medicine Herceptin with a powerful toxin to more effectively kill cancer cells while potentially reducing side effects. The drug, which will be called Kadcyla but was known as T-DM1 during its development, extended the median survival of women with advanced breast cancer by nearly half a year in a clinical trial. Genentech, which developed the drug, said it would cost about $9,800 a month, or $94,000 for a typical course of treatment. That is about twice the price of Herceptin itself, which is also made by Genentech, but it is similar to the price of some other new cancer drugs.
Armstrong lawsuit — The Justice Department has decided to join a whistleblower lawsuit against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, a lawyer for Armstrong, Robert Luskin, said Friday. The move increases the odds Armstrong may have to forfeit tens of millions of dollars paid out by team sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service. The lawsuit, filed in 2010 by former teammate Floyd Landis on behalf of the Postal Service, alleges Armstrong defrauded the government by using taxpayer dollars to buy performance enhancing drugs used to win seven Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005.
BBC documents — The BBC is a bloated, top-heavy, and poorly led corporation staffed by dull executives and backbiting journalists — and that’s just what the company’s leadership says. In 3,000 pages of emails and interviews published Friday, the BBC’s top officials have harsh words for the institutional culture of their respected media group, whose image has been damaged by a sex-abuse scandal. The documents are the supporting material for the BBC’s own investigation into its handling of the sex crime allegations against the late entertainer Jimmy Savile.
Russia aids Mali — Russia dispatched a planeload of humanitarian aid to war-stricken Mali on Friday, a day after Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned about the spread of terrorism in North Africa. Lavrov met Thursday with the U.N. special envoy for the region, Romano Prodi, to discuss the situation in Mali, where Russia has supported the French-led effort to oust Islamic militants. But Russia has also blamed the West for the unrest and singled out the French in particular for arming the rebels who ousted the Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi.
Pistorius gets bail — Oscar Pistorius walked out of court Friday — free at least for now — after a South African magistrate released him on bail, capping four days of often startling testimony that foreshadowed a dramatic trial in the Valentine’s Day slaying of his girlfriend.
Troops to stay in Afghanistan — The U.S. and its NATO allies revealed Friday they may keep as many as 12,000 troops in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends next year, largely American forces tasked with hunting down remnants of al-Qaida and helping Afghan forces with their own security. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said most allied defense ministers assured him they are committed to remaining part of a U.S.-led coalition.
Health insurance premiums — The number of requests by health insurers for double-digit rate increases fell about 41 percentage points since the end of 2009, according to a U.S. government report that cited the success of the health care overhaul. The data Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed one-third of requests last year asked states to approve premium increases of more than 10 percent. In 2010, three-quarters of petitions sought double-digit jumps, according to the report, which compared 15 states in 2012 with 11 in 2010.
— From wire reports