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Glaxo Pays Up

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $750 million to settle several lawsuits stemming from whistleblower complaints about the company knowingly selling contaminated baby ointment and an ineffective antidepressant, report the New York Times' Gardiner Harris and Duff Wilson. Glaxo sold 20 drugs — including antidepressant Paxil, diabetes drug Avandia, and heart drug Coreg — manufactured at a plant that had contamination problems for many years, Gardiner and Wilson say. In one suit, a former quality manager for the firm says she blew the whistle after she was fired for bringing these issues to the attention of upper management. Glaxo closed the troubled plant in 2009, as it was unable to fix the problems. Whistleblower lawsuits have been making waves throughout the pharmaceutical industry, according to the Times. While other suits have generally been about companies' shady marketing practices, this is the first successful suit to show that a drugmaker knowingly sold contaminated products, Gardiner and Wilson add.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.