Swiss wins $75,000 prize for chemistry

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<ul><li><p>So far, chemical trade between the two countries has been small, however. In 1973, the U.S. shipped only $17 million worth of chemicals to the U.S.S.R. and imported only $2.3 million. The Occidental fertil-izer package will change this dra-matically. </p><p>Drug regulations: net effect is not good The 1962 amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act may be costing the public well over $400 million annually by restricting drug development and lengthening the time required for new drug discov-eries to reach the market. So con-cludes University of Chicago econo-mist Sam Peltzman in a study, "Regulation of Pharmaceutical In-novation," published last week. </p><p>The amendments, which increase the clinical testing required before a new drug can be marketed and require its manufacturer to demon-strate its effectiveness as well as its safety, were intended to cut down on the entry of ineffective or poten-tially dangerous drugs into the U.S. market. But they also have in-creased the time and expense of de-veloping a new drug so that total drug development is down substan-tially since 1962, Dr. Peltzman con-tends. The net effect may have been to keep more good drugs than bad ones from reaching the market. And the resulting delay in intro-ducing new drugs may have caused more suffering than the occasional dangerous drug that greater testing screens out, according to Dr. Peltz-man. </p><p>Coming at a time when proposals for national health insurance may lead to increased regulation of the drug industry, Dr. Peltzman's neg-ative evaluation of earlier regula-tion generated considerable interest when first announced a year ago. Although it is clear that far fewer drugs are now entering the market than before the amendments, there is disagreement as to what the un-developed drugs would have been like. </p><p>Dr. Peltzman feels that on the whole they would have been benefi-cial. He believes the market place can screen out bad products and he sees the preamendment market as one with little room for improve-ment by a regulatory agency. If anything, drug innovation was overrestricted by then existing regulations, and further restriction of drug development had to impose net losses on the public, he says. </p><p>Congress about to act on pension standards A House-Senate conference com-mittee has reached agreement on pension legislation that for the first time provides federal standards for worker participation and vesting and sets up federal insurance for plans that go bankrupt. Al-most certain to be passed by Con-gress this summer, the legislation applies only to companies with pension plans. It does not require firms to establish such plans for their workers. </p><p>Under the conference bill, employees would become eligible for pension coverage at age 25 or after one year of service, whichever is later. If the worker enters at age 25, he can receive up to three years back-vesting credit for past em-ployment with the company. </p><p>Employers are given a choice of three vesting formulas: 100% vest-ing at the end of 10 years' service; 50% vesting when age and years of service equal 45, with vesting in-creasing 10% in each of the fol-lowing five years; or 25% vesting after five years, increasing by 5% a year to 50% vesting with 10 years' service, and then by 10% a year until 100% vesting is reached after 15 years of service. In no case, how-ever, could a worker be less than 50% vested after 10 years of service, regardless of age. </p><p>When an employee leaves a job for a new one, he may, with his em-ployer's permission, take out of the company's pension fund any vested amount to which he is entitled and invest it in a private pension plan of his own. A provision of the origi-nal Senate bill for a federal pension fund, in which job-hopping workers could deposit the amount of their accumulated pension, has been dropped from the conference bill. However, it will be one of the subjects looked at in a two-year study provided for in the conference measure on the possible need for additional protection of pension credits earned by highly mobile workers such as scientists. </p><p>In testimony before several House and Senate committees, the American Chemical Society has ad-vocated, among other things, eligi-bility after a maximum of one year of employment and attainment of age 25, and 100% vesting after 10 years' service, both of which are provided for in the conference bill. </p><p>However, the bill doesn't provide a system of pension portability for professionals as advocated by ACS and others. </p><p>Eschenmoser: Welch award for 1974 </p><p>Swiss wins $75,000 prize for chemistry Dr. Albert Eschenmoser has been named recipient of the internation-al Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry. A professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the 48-year-old organic chemist has been awarded the $75,000 prize for "his profound and highly creative contributions to synthetic chemistry that include the discovery of important new reactions and construction of com-plex naturally occurring mole-cules." </p><p>When the monetary award, gold medal, and certificate are presented in Houston in November at the Robert A. Welch Foundation's 18th annual Conference on Chemical Research, the event will mark only the second awarding of the prize. Set up to be awarded not more often than every two years, it was first presented in 1972 to Dr. Karl Folkers of the University of Texas at Austin. </p><p>Dr. Eschenmoser has been par-ticularly active in the corrinoid field. In 1960 he began research on synthetic methods for constructing corrins and corrin complexes that led to successful syntheses in 1964 and 1969. His work on the corri-noids led to his involvement in the synthesis of vitamin B12. In that work, his laboratory joined forces with that of Harvard University's Dr. Robert B. Woodward to provide the first total synthesis (C&amp;EN, March 12, 1973, page 16). </p><p>The Robert A. Welch Foundation was created in 1954 by the will of the late Robert A. Welch, an oil en-trepreneur. Since that time, more than $54 million in grants to aid basic chemical research has been distributed by the foundation to scientists at some 41 schools in the state of Texas. </p><p>July 8. 19 74 C&amp;EN </p><p>Swiss wins $75,000 prize for chemistry</p></li></ul>