Haley wins GOP primary runoff

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina Republicans overwhelmingly chose Nikki Haley, an Indian-American woman, to run for governor.

In her victory speech, Haley, a state legislator who received the backing of tea party activists and Sarah Palin, thanked supporters and played down the historic nature of her victory.

"This is so much more," she said. "This is a story about determination and a story about a movement. This is the movement about the idea of government being open and accountable to the people.

"South Carolina just showed the rest of the country what we're made of," Haley said following her victory. "It's a new day in our state, and I am very blessed to be a part of it."

With her victory over 3rd Congressional District Rep. Gresham Barrett in the runoff, Haley moved one step closer to becoming the first female governor in the conservative state.

She also secured her place as a rising female star in the Republican Party, if not as a potential 2012 vice presidential candidate in the early primary state.

She will face off against the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, in November.

GOP Gov. Mark Sanford is leaving the post because of term limits.

South Carolina's former first lady also congratulated Haley on her historic win.

"I think it's a really big moment on a number of different levels," Jenny Sanford said. "We're watching the glass ceiling being broken, which is a great thing for our state."

Pill for women falls short in studies

WASHINGTON -- A pink pill designed to boost sex drive in women, the latest attempt by the drug industry to find a female equivalent to Viagra, fell short in two studies, according to federal health regulators.

The Food and Drug Administration is considering Boehringer Ingelheim's drug flibanserin for premenopausal women who report a lack of sexual desire, a market that drugmakers have been targeting for more than a decade since the blockbuster success of Viagra in men.

"The division wanted to see that an effect of treatment is an overall increase in sexual desire regardless of whether a sexual event occurred or not," states the FDA review.

The FDA also noted increased side effects such as depression, fainting and dizziness seen among women taking the pink pill.

The drug, which is related to the antidepressant family, affects serotonin and several other brain chemicals, though it's not clear how that increases sex drive.

A FDA advisory panel last week recommended unanimously against the agency's approval of flibanserin, saying the drug's efficacy is not great enough to outweigh the side effects. The FDA is not required to follow its panels' recommendations, but it generally does so.

Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, says arousal in women is so complicated that it may be unrealistic to expect a pill to completely address sexual problems.

"It's a fairly complicated area, unlike in men's sexual dysfunction, where there's a major mechanical concern," Kavaler said. "In women, there's no mechanical concern, so if she's not having a successful sex life, where is the problem?"

FDA panel OKs contraceptive pill

WASHINGTON -- Watson Pharmaceuticals and HRA Pharma won a U.S. panel's backing for the emergency contraceptive ulipristal, a rival to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Plan B morning-after pill.

The drug, which would be sold under the name Ella, is safe and effective, outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration said in two 11-0 votes in Gaithersburg, Md. The FDA didn't ask the panel to vote on whether the drug should be approved for sale. While the agency usually follows its advisory panels' recommendations, it isn't required to do so.

Ulipristal is designed to prevent pregnancy when taken within five days of unprotected sex, two days longer than Plan B. The drug has been sold in 22 European countries since October. If approved in the U.S., ulipristal would be available by prescription only. Plan B, known as the morning-after pill, can be sold without a prescription to women 17 and older and by prescription for younger females.

Ulipristal reduced the rate of expected pregnancy by about 60 percent in clinical trials when taken two to five days after unprotected sex, FDA staff said in an evaluation. Side effects included nausea, headache, abdominal pain and dizziness. Data were inconclusive on how the drug might affect "an established pregnancy or fetal development," the staff review said.

Panelists said they were comfortable with safety data submitted by HRA Pharma, and didn't see a need for the pill's labeling to recommend that women take pregnancy tests before using the drug.