Daily Rounds: Glassy Lipitor; AIDS-Free Generation; Fast-Melting Ice Sheets; Starbucks’ $7 Grande

Maker of Generic Lipitor Halts Production (The New York Times) “Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, the largest producer of the generic version of Lipitor, has halted production of the drug until it can figure out why glass particles may have ended up in pills that were distributed to the public, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday. The agency said it had not received any reports of patients being harmed by the particles, which are about the size of a grain of sand. Earlier this month, Ranbaxy recalled more than 40 lots of the drug because of the glass contamination. The company has declined to say where the drug was manufactured or why the problem occurred, but a spokeswoman for the F.D.A. said Thursday that the company would stop making the pill’s active ingredient, which is made in India, until the investigation is completed.”

Clinton Reveals Blueprint For Reaching An ‘Aids-Free’ Generation (The Washington Post) — “The world can control the AIDS epidemic in four or five years and set it on a trajectory to become a small, if permanent, problem, according to a State Department document made public Thursday. An “AIDS-free generation” — a goal that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton touted a year ago — could be reached by starting more infected people on AIDS drugs, circumcising men in high-prevalence countries and making sure that every HIV-positive pregnant woman is treated.”

Polar Ice Sheets Melt Faster (The Wall Street Journal) — “Higher temperatures over the past two decades have caused the polar ice sheets to melt at an accelerating rate, contributing to an almost half-inch rise in global sea levels, according to the most comprehensive study done so far. Scientists long have struggled to get a fix on whether the permanent ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are gaining or losing ice. Past satellite-based measurements either were limited in scope or suffered from methodological inconsistencies. The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, estimates that the melting of the ice sheets as a whole has raised global sea levels by 11.1 millimeters (0.43 inch) since 1992. That represents one-fifth of the total sea-level increase recorded in that period.”

Starbucks $7 Cup of Joe’s Jolting (The Boston Herald) — “How deep are coffee lovers willing to dig for a cup? Starbucks is pushing the limit with the latest offering from its “Reserve” line of premium coffee. A 16-ounce “grande” cup of its Costa Rica Finca Palmilera is selling for $7. The Seattle java giant attributes the jolting price to the rarity of the Geisha coffee, a naturally low-yielding, heirloom varietal that only grows at extremely high altitudes. “This price is based on limited availability and appeals to a particular audience, like one who loves sampling boutique wines that are available in limited quantities,” spokeswoman Alisa Martinez said. The coffee is only being sold in 46 Starbucks in Seattle and Portland, Ore. Good thing, because bean-heads in South Boston’s Seaport District roasted the new offering yesterday. “It’s ridiculous,” said Vanessa Eusse of Everett, a 23-year-old restaurant server and self-described Starbucks fanatic who prefers lattes. “That’s way too much — unless it had little pieces of gold in it.”

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