Morning Security Brief: Underwear Bomber Sentencing, Fake Cancer Drugs, Security Biolabs, and More
The Underwear Bomber faces sentencing today. The FDA is investigating how fake cancer drugs ended up in circulation. Reuters examines how biolabs are secured. And more.
►The Underwear Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, will be sentenced Thursday in Federal court. Judge Nancy Edmunds will decide if Abdulmutallab will face life in prison as called for by existing laws. “Abdulmutallab's lawyer, Anthony Chambers, earlier this week asked for a lighter sentence, saying the mandatory life sentence was too harsh for an attempted bombing that killed no one,” Reuters reports. On December 29, 2009, a bomb hidden in Abdulmutallab’s underwear failed to ignite when he attempted to detonate it during a Delta Airlines flight, and instead caught on fire. The passengers on the plane subdued him until the flight landed. Abdulmutallab pled guilty two days into his trial.
►The FDA is investigating how fake versions of the cancer drug Avastin ended up in circulation in the United States. The FDA has notified 19 medical practices, which it says purchase unapproved cancer medications, about the counterfeits. The fake version of the drug does not include the active ingredient, bevacizumab. “The FDA said the drugs came from an overseas supplier called Quality Specialty Products, which does business in the United States with a distributor identified as Montana Healthcare Solutions,” Reuters reports. One oncology practice says it stopped doing business with Montana Healthcare in the past after it noticed some of its products were missing information required for documentation. When the practice called the company about the information, “they gave me the runaround," said an employee at the practice. "At that point we ceased all business.” Montana Healthcare says it offers “lower-priced European alternatives" of products for several expensive medications, according to a price list obtained by Reuters.
►Labs that contain the world’s deadliest pathogens have several layers of security , but most of them aren’t required by law and there is no uniform standard. Likewise, “labs whose experiments on dangerous pathogens are funded by the U.S. government must follow specific rules to keep the microbes from escaping, but those rules are not enforceable for researchers working with private funds,” Reuters reports. Security and safety requirements vary widely outside of the United States.
►In other news, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs is warning consumers not to be fooled by car dealerships charging a “homeland security fee .”♦ A lawmaker from West Virginia has introduced a bill that would require DHS to purchase American-made uniforms, footwear, and equipment. ♦ And Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a bold pediction Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad will fall "within weeks."