WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials on Friday approved a closely watched Alzheimer’s drug that modestly slows the brain-robbing disease, albeit with potential safety risks that patients and their doctors will have to carefully weigh.
The drug, Leqembi, is the first that’s been convincingly shown to slow the decline in memory and thinking that defines Alzheimer’s by targeting the disease’s underlying biology. The Food and Drug Administration approved it for patients with Alzheimer’s, specifically those with mild or early-stage disease.
Leqembi, from Japan’s Eisai and its U.S. partner Biogen, is a rare success in a field accustomed to failed experimental treatments for the incurable condition. The delay in cognitive decline brought about by the drug likely amounts to just several months, but Dr. Joy Snider and some other experts say it could still meaningfully improve people’s lives.
“This drug is not a cure. It doesn’t stop people from getting worse, but it does measurably slow the progression of the disease,” said Snider, a neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis. “That might mean someone could have an extra six months to a year of being able to drive.”
Snider stressed that the medicine, pronounced “leh-KEM-bee,” comes with downsides, including the need for twice-a-month infusions and possible side effects like brain swelling.
The FDA approval came via its accelerated pathway, which allows drugs to launch based on early results, before they’re confirmed to benefit patients. The agency’s use of that shortcut approach has come under increasing scrutiny from government watchdogs and congressional investigators.
Last week, a congressional report found that FDA’s approval of a similar Alzheimer’s drug called Aduhelm — also from Biogen and Eisai — was “rife with irregularities,” including a number of meetings with drug company staffers that went undocumented.
Scrutiny of the new drug, known chemically as lecanemab, will likely mean most patients won’t start receiving it for months, as insurers decide whether and how to cover it.
Some 6 million people in the U.S. and many more worldwide have Alzheimer’s, which gradually attacks areas of the brain needed for memory, reasoning, communication and daily tasks.
The FDA’s approval was based on one mid-stage study in 800 people with early signs of Alzheimer’s who were still able to live independently or with minimal assistance.
Since then, Eisai has published the results of a larger 1,800-patient study that the FDA will review to confirm the drug’s benefit, paving the way for full approval later this year.
The larger study tracked patients’ results on an 18-point scale that measures memory, judgment and other cognitive abilities. Doctors compile the rating from interviews with the patient and a close contact. After 18 months, patients receiving Leqembi declined more slowly — a difference of less than half a point on the scale — than patients who received a dummy infusion. The delay amounted to just over five months.
There is little consensus on whether that difference translates into real benefits for patients, such as greater independence.
“Most patients won’t notice the difference,” said Dr. Matthew Schrag, a neurology researcher at Vanderbilt University. “This is really quite a small effect and probably below the threshold of what we’d call clinically significant.”
Schrag and some other researchers believe a meaningful improvement would require at least a difference of one full point on the 18-point scale.
Leqembi works by clearing a sticky brain protein called amyloid that’s one hallmark of Alzheimer’s. But it’s not clear exactly what causes the disease. A string of other amyloid-targeting drugs have failed and many researchers now think combination treatments will be needed.
Aduhelm, the similar drug, was marred by controversy over its effectiveness.
The FDA approved that drug in 2021 against the advice of the agency’s own outside experts. Doctors hesitated to prescribe the drug and insurers restricted coverage.
The FDA did not consult the same expert panel before approving Leqembi.
While there’s “less drama,” surrounding the new drug, Schrag said many of the same concerns apply.
“Is this slight, measurable benefit worth the hefty price tag and the side effects patients may experience?” he asked. “I have pretty serious doubts.”
About 13% of patients in Eisai’s study had swelling of the brain and 17% had small brain bleeds, side effects seen with earlier amyloid-targeting medications. In most cases those problems didn’t cause symptoms, which can include dizziness and vision problems.
Also, several Leqembi users died while taking the drug, including two who were on blood-thinning medications. Eisai has said the deaths can’t be attributed to the drug. The FDA label warns doctors to use caution if they prescribe Leqembi to patients on blood thinners.
Insurers are likely to only cover the drug for people like those in the company study — patients with mild symptoms and confirmation of amyloid buildup. That typically requires expensive brain scans. A separate type of scan will be needed to periodically monitor for brain swelling and bleeding.
A key question in the drug’s rollout will be the coverage decision by Medicare, the federal health plan that covers 60 million seniors and other Americans. The agency severely restricted coverage of Aduhelm, essentially wiping out its U.S. market and prompting Biogen to abandon marketing plans for the drug.
Eisai executives said they have already spent months discussing their drug’s data with Medicare officials. Coverage isn’t expected until after the FDA confirms the drug’s benefit, likely later this year.
“Once we have a Medicare decision, then we can truly launch the drug across the country,” said Eisai’s U.S. CEO, Ivan Cheung.
Betsy Groves, 73, of Cambridge, Mass., was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2021. A former lecturer at Harvard’s school of education, she noticed she was having trouble remembering some student names and answering questions.
Her initial diagnosis, based on a cognitive examination, was later confirmed by a positive test for amyloid.
Groves says she is “more than willing” to try Leqembi, despite potential side effects and the need for infusions.
“For me, the minute that drug comes on the market — and I get my doctor’s approval — I’m going to take it,” Groves said.
AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal judge has sentenced 28-year-old Robert Elliot to over 43 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple crimes, including two counts of murder for hire and distributing child sexual abuse material.
Prosecutors say Elliot tried three times to hire a hitman to injure or kill a teenage girl he had previously abused. His efforts to have the girl, her mother and a witness killed were unsuccessful.
In 2017, Elliott met a 16-year-old girl in Shelbyville and started communicating with her. Later that year, he was charged with domestic battery of the victim and accused of beating the girl and ordered to stay away from her.
Ahead of his trial for domestic battery, Elliott tried to give the girl heroin while she was home with her mother. During this time, police discovered he had shared illicit photos of the girl and other child sex abuse material on Facebook.
While he was in the Shelby County Jail awaiting trial, prosecutors say Elliott used the jail phone to ask his mother to hire a member of the Hells Angels to kill or injure the girl’s mother to keep her from testifying against him.
“Elliott’s mother hired the Hells Angel to commit serious bodily injury to Witness Victim 1 in exchange for $500. The jail calls between Elliott and his mother, as well as the calls and texts to the Hells Angel, were recorded and intercepted by law enforcement officials,” federal prosecutors said in a statement Friday.
After that attempt failed, Elliott offered three different jail inmates $5,000 each to kill the girl, her mother, and another person. All three inmates reported Elliott and his plan was thwarted.
In May 2019, he was indicted on federal charges of child exploitation and illegal gun possesion.
While in jail on those charges, Elliott asked a witness to give him the phone number of a “cartel hitman” to have the girl and her mother killed. Federal prosecutors say the hitman was actually an undercover agent.
“Elliott offered … to exchange heavy duty equipment, a motorcycle, and military-grade weapons including shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons and M203 grenade launchers for the murders,” federal prosecutors said. “Elliott conspired with his grandfather to provide the equipment, motorcycle, and military-grade weapons to the purported hitman.”
Federal agents searched the home of Elliott’s grandfather and found at least 20 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
“One of the firearms was illegally purchased for Elliott by another individual, who agreed to falsify federal firearms purchasing forms and provide Elliott with the gun in exchange for a meal at Olive Garden,” federal prosecutors said.
In June, he pleaded guily to various charges and admitted in a plea agreement that he made and distributed child sex material.
“This defendant’s abuse of a minor victim was beyond despicable. He physically and sexually assaulted her, sought to provide her with dangerous narcotics, and had no qualms about killing the minor victim and others in a desperate and twisted attempt to get away with it,” FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert Stapleton said in a statement Friday.
After his release from prison, Elliott must serve five years on probation and pay $5,000 in restitution to the girl, who is now an adult, and her mother.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hoosiers now have a new way to escape the cold temperatures in favor of the heat and sunshine of Arizona.
Frontier Airlines is now offering year-round nonstop service from the Indianapolis International Airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Frontier will offer these flights three times a week beginning the week of Feb. 19; until then, service will be offered less frequently.
To celebrate, Hoosiers can get tickets as low as $49 until Jan. 11. Tickets must be purchased 7 days before the flight in order to recieve the discount.
Frontier also offers nonstop service from Indianapolis to Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Raleigh-Durham.
(CNN) — The cost of the service meltdown at Southwest Airlines over the year-end holidays cost the airline nearly $1 billion and will cause the company to report a loss rather than a profit in the fourth quarter, the airline said in a filing on Friday.
The airline, the nation’s largest domestic carrier, said the cost of canceling more than 16,700 flights between December 21 and 29 will be somewhere between $725 million and $825 miilion. A bit more than half the cost – between $400 million and $425 million – will come from lost ticket revenue that will be refunded to customers.
Other costs include compensation for customers, both to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses and the cost of booking flights on other airlines, as well as providing 25,000 points to the frequent flier accounts of affected customers. There are also increased operating costs, such as additional compensation for employees, such as overtime pay.
These costs were partly offset by unspecified savings from reduced fuel consumption and reduced profit sharing payments to staff.
Shares of Southwest, which had already lost 8% of their value since December 21, lost another 2% in early trading Friday.
The costs did not include any possible fines that could be imposed by the Department of Transportation. DOT has said it is investigating the service problems at Southwest and members of Congress are calling on it to take firm action against the airline.
The costs also did not include any estimate for lost bookings in the future from customers who decide they no longer want to fly on Southwest, or the cost of upgrading its computer systems, specifically its crew scheduling system, which has been blamed for much of the service meltdown. While bad weather started the service problems, Southwest suffered far worse service problems, according to its employee unions, because the antiquated scheduling system left it without the crew members it needed to staff flights.
The company did not give an estimate for how large the fourth quarter loss would be. The company earned $316 million in the third quarter, excluding special items, and $950 million on that basis over the first nine months of the year. It had been poised to return to profitability after $4.8 billion in combined losses 2020 and 2021 caused by the pandemic, ending a streak of 47 straight year of annual profits.
This is not the first time the airline has suffered a costly service meltdown. It estimated similar problems during the Columbus Day weekend in 2021 cost it $75 million. But there were far fewer passengers flying then and far fewer flights canceled.
— CNN’s Greg Wallace contributed to this report
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gannett Publishing Services announced they will be closing half of the presses at its Georgetown road location.
The announcement was part of a WARN notice posted by the State of Indiana on Thursday.
Gannett will reduce the site’s operations from four presses to two.
“Certain of the production employees working at that location will be affected by the closing of the production operation,” Gannett wrote in the notice. The company expect to lay off 56 workers in early March.
Gannett owns and publishes The Indianapolis Star.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas has fired basketball coach Chris Beard, who faces a felony domestic family violence charge stemming from a Dec. 12 incident involving his fiancée, with the school telling his attorney on Thursday that Beard is “unfit” for the position.
Beard had five years left on a seven-year guaranteed contract that included a provision he could be fired for cause if he was charged with a felony or committed other behavior unbecoming of his position or that reflected poorly on the university.
The charge of assault by strangulation/suffocation family violence carries a possible prison sentence of two to 10 years if convicted; the woman told police Beard strangled and bit her, but later denied he choked her.
Beard had been suspended without pay since he was arrested, and school officials had said there was internal investigation.
The university’s vice president of legal affairs, Jim Davis, wrote in a letter to Beard’s attorney Thursday that Beard engaged in “unacceptable behavior that makes him unfit to serve as head coach at our university.” Whether prosecutors continue with the case does not determine whether Beard engaged in conduct unbecoming of the school, Davis wrote.
Police responded to an emergency call at Beard’s house after midnight on Dec. 12 and arrested him after Beard’s fiancée, Randi Trew, told officers he choked her from behind, bit her and hit her when the two got in an argument.
The Associated Press does not typically identify alleged victims of extreme violence, but Trew issued a public statement on Dec. 23 in which she denied telling police Beard choked her. She also said she never intended for him to be arrested or prosecuted.
“Chris did not strangle me, and I told that to law enforcement that evening,” Trew said in her statement. “Chris has stated that he was acting in self-defense, and I do not refute that. I do not believe Chris was trying to intentionally harm me in any way.”
Trew’s statement did not address why she made the emergency call or other details in the police report, such as bite marks and abrasions on her face and telling officers that she couldn’t breathe for about five seconds.
Beard’s attorney, Perry Minton, has said the coach is innocent, and pointed to Trew’s statement in a letter sent early Thursday to the university in which Minton pressed the school to keep Beard.
“Coach Beard has not done anything to violate any provision of his contract with the University of Texas,” Minton wrote, adding he expects the charges to be dropped.
Minton’s letter also said Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte “has repeatedly reported to our team that he is certain that Chris Beard did nothing wrong — and is innocent.” It also said said that Texas officials told Beard to resign or be fired.
“Your letter this morning reveals that Mr. Beard does not understand the significance of the behavior he knows he engaged in, or the ensuing events that impair his ability to effectively lead our program,” Davis wrote in the school’s termination letter.
“This lack of self-awareness is yet another failure of judgement that makes Mr. Beard unfit to serve as a head coach at our university,” Davis wrote.
According to the arrest affidavit, Trew initially told police that she and Beard they had been in an argument where she broke his glasses before he “just snapped on me and became super violent.” Police reported Trew said Beard slapped her glasses off her face and “choked me, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around and going nuts.”
The Travis County district attorney’s office has not responded to previous requests for comment on Beard’s case or whether Trew’s Dec. 23 statement would change how prosecutors proceed with the felony charge. A Jan. 18 court hearing is scheduled, according to online records.
Beard led Texas Tech to the 2019 NCAA Tournament championship game and was hired at Texas in 2021 with the expectation that he would lift his alma mater to the same elite level. He had the Longhorns program humming this season, starting 6-0 and ranked as high as No. 2.
Associate head coach Rodney Terry took Beard’s place during the suspension, and Del Conte said Thursday that Terry would remain acting head coach through the rest of this season.
“We thank Coach Rodney Terry for his exemplary leadership both on and off the court at a time when our team needed it most,” Del Conte said. “We are proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who throughout this difficult time have continued to make us proud to be Longhorns.”
The Longhorns (12-2, 1-1 Big 12) won their first five games under Terry before losing 116-103 to Kansas State on Tuesday.
A Texas graduate, Beard spent 10 seasons at Texas Tech as an assistant under Bob Knight from 2001-2011, then returned there as head coach in 2016.
He was 112-55 in five seasons with the Red Raiders and was named The The Associated Press coach of the year in 2019 as he guided Texas Tech to a 31-7 finish and lost in an overtime thriller to Virginia in the national championship game.
His departure for Texas — a deal reached after a meeting with Del Conte that included a McDonald’s breakfast an hour’s drive north of Lubbock — left Texas Tech officials frustrated.
As soon as he landed in Austin, Beard set out to rebuild a program from the ground up, changing the roster and trying to whip up new enthusiasm for the program as he engaged with students and often held comedic “fireside chats” on campus. In his first season, he led Texas to a first-round victory over Virginia Tech that was the Longhorns’ first NCAA Tournament win since 2014.
UPDATE: Lafayette police announced Thursday night that two arrests were made in relation to the arsons on Olympia Drive. Two 16-year-old boys were arrested for multiple counts of felony arson. They were transported to the juvenile intake facility in Tippecanoe County for processing. The boys were not identified by police.
LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Southeastern Lafayette has suffered multiple accounts of arson over the past few months.
The Lafayette Police Department and Fire Department are working together to find two suspects believed to be involved in setting fire to a multitude of different vehicles and public property on Olympia Drive. These reports of arson include:
- Sept. 17– Damage to vehicles and construction equipment
- Sept. 18 — Damage to vehicles
- Oct. 2 — Damage to semitractor tractors
- Dec. 12 — Damage to vehicles
- Jan. 2 — Damage to a truck and trailer
Investigators are offering a $5,000 reward for tips that lead to a prosecution.
Anyone with more information or tips was encouraged either to call 800-382-4628 or visit iniaai.org.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The DNA of the man accused of killing four University of Idaho students was found on a knife sheath recovered at the crime scene, and cellphone data shows that he was in the area of the victims’ home multiple times in the months before the November attack, an investigator said in court documents unsealed Thursday.
The documents were made public minutes before Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology doctoral student at nearby Washington State University, appeared in court to face four charges of first-degree murder. He was ordered held without bail.
The court documents also detail a surviving roommate’s chilling encounter with a masked intruder the night of the stabbings. But the documents still leave many questions unanswered, including whether Kohberger and the victims knew each other and why police weren’t called to the home until nearly eight hours after the killings likely occurred.
According to the newly unsealed court documents, traces of DNA from a lone male later determined to be Kohberger were found on the button of a leather knife sheath found in the rental home where the victims were killed. Investigators later closely matched the DNA on the sheath to DNA found in trash taken from Kohberger’s parents’ home in Pennsylvania, where he was arrested last week.
The sheath had a U.S. Marine Corps insignia on it, though there’s no record of Kohberger having served in the military.
Two other housemates were at home during the Nov. 13 killings, but were not physically harmed, according to the affidavit written by Brett Payne, a police corporal in Moscow, Idaho.
The attack that occurred in the early morning hours at the off-campus home had spread fear throughout the university and surrounding area for weeks, as authorities seemed stumped by the brutal stabbings. Investigators recently made a breakthrough, however, after analyzing DNA evidence and searching for a white sedan that was seen around the time of the killings.
Surveillance footage captured near the home showed a white sedan — later identified as a Hyundai Elantra — drove by the home three times in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, returning a fourth time at about 4:04 a.m. The car was next spotted on surveillance cameras leaving the victims home 16 minutes later “at a high rate of speed,” according to the affidavit. The same car was later spotted on a different camera headed toward Pullman, Washington — the town where Washington State University and Kohberger’s apartment are located.
Latah County prosecutors have said they believe Kohberger broke into the victims’ home intending to commit murder. But investigators have made no public statements about a possible motive, whether any weapons have been found, or whether they think Kohberger knew any of the victims: Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.
Kohberger was extradited Wednesday from Pennsylvania, where he was arrested last week at his parents house.
One of the uninjured housemates told investigators that she was woken by noises at about 4 a.m., and thought she heard another housemate say something like, “there’s someone here.” She looked outside her bedroom and didn’t see anything. Later she thought she heard crying coming from Kernodle’s room and looked outside again. That’s when she said she heard a male voice say something to the effect of, “it’s OK, I’m going to help you,” Payne wrote in the affidavit.
She later opened her door a third time and saw a masked man in black clothing whom she did not recognize walking toward her and stood in “frozen shock” as he walked past her toward a sliding glass door, the affidavit said. She went back in her room and locked the door.
Investigators believe the suspect then left the home. The document does not say what happened next at the home, or why police were not alerted for several more hours.
Mental health experts say common physiological responses to frightening or traumatic experiences include an urge to fight, an urge to flee, or an urge to freeze.
Location data from Kohberger’s cellphone showed he had traveled to the area of the victims’ residence at least a dozen times between late June and the night of the killings, authorities said.
Those apparent visits to the victims’ neighborhood all occurred late in the evening or early morning hours, the affidavit said. Investigators also obtained location data from the night of the killings, showing that Kohberger’s phone was near his home in Pullman until about 2:42 a.m.
Five minutes later, the phone started using cellular resources located southeast of the home — consistent with Kohberger traveling south, the affidavit said. There was no other location data available from the phone until 4:48 a.m., suggesting Kohberger may have turned his phone off during the attack, the affidavit said.
At that point, the phone began taking a roundabout route back to Pullman, traveling south to Genesee, Idaho, then west to Uniontown, Washington and north to Pullman just before 5:30 a.m. — around the same time the white sedan showed up on surveillance cameras in town.
An FBI expert identified the vehicle as a 2011-2016 Hyundai Elantra; Kohberger was driving a 2015 white Elantra during traffic stops in August and in October, the affidavit said.
Kohberger had applied to become an intern with the Pullman Police Department sometime in the fall of 2022, writing in his application essay that he wanted to help rural law enforcement agencies collect and analyze technical data in public safety operations, according to the affidavit. The document does not say if Kohberger was granted the internship.
The Pullman Police Department did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press asking if Kohberger ever became an intern with the department.
During his first appearance in the Idaho courtroom Thursday, Kohberger appeared with his attorney in an orange jumpsuit and remained silent while the magistrate ordered him not to have contact with the victims’ families. His next hearing was set for Jan. 12.
Before Kohberger was extradited to Idaho, his attorney in Pennsylvania — Monroe County chief public defender Jason LaBar — said Kohberger was eager to be exonerated and described him as “an ordinary guy.”
Although Moscow police have been tightlipped about the investigation, authorities last month asked the public for help finding a white sedan that was seen near the scene of the crime — specifically, a 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra. Tips poured in and investigators soon announced they were sifting through a pool of around 20,000 potential vehicles.
Meanwhile, Kohberger apparently stayed in Pullman, Washington, through the end of the semester at WSU. Then he drove across country to his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, accompanied by his father. They were in a white Elantra.
While driving through Indiana, Kohberger was pulled over twice on the same day — first by a Hancock County Sheriff’s deputy and a few minutes later by an Indiana state trooper.
This story was corrected to delete a reference to a knife being found at the crime scene and to clarify that the U.S. Marine Corps emblem was on the sheath that was found.
Associated Press writers Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Manuel Valdes in Seattle contributed to this story.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Supreme Court struck down Thursday a ban on abortion after cardiac activity is detected — typically around six weeks — ruling the restriction violates the state constitution’s right to privacy.
The decision comes nearly two years after Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed the measure into law. The ban, which included exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest or pregnancies that endangered the patient’s life, drew lawsuits almost immediately. Since then, legal challenges have made their way through both state and federal courts.
“The State unquestionably has the authority to limit the right of privacy that protects women from state interference with her decision, but any such limitation must be reasonable and it must be meaningful in that the time frames imposed must afford a woman sufficient time to determine she is pregnant and to take reasonable steps to terminate that pregnancy. Six weeks is, quite simply, not a reasonable period of time for these two things to occur, and therefore the Act violates our state Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable invasions of privacy,” Justice Kaye Hearn wrote in the majority opinion.
Currently, South Carolina bars most abortions at 20 weeks.
Varying orders have given the law’s supporters and opponents both cause for celebration and dismay. Those seeking abortions in the state have seen the legal window expand to the previous limit of 20 weeks before returning to latest restrictions and back again.
Federal courts had previously suspended the law. But the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade allowed the restrictions to take place — for just a brief period. The state Supreme Court temporarily blocked it this past August as the justices considered a new challenge.
The high court’s momentous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization set off a flurry of activity at the state level. Republican-dominated states moved forward with new restrictions while abortion rights’ advocates sought additional safeguards. With federal abortion protections gone, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic sued in July under the South Carolina constitution’s right to privacy. Meanwhile, other states have seen challenges to restrictions as a matter of religious freedom.
In South Carolina, lawyers representing the state Legislature have argued that the right to privacy should be interpreted narrowly. During oral arguments this past October, they argued historical context suggests lawmakers intended to protect against searches and seizures when they ratified the right in 1971. Planned Parenthood attorneys representing the challengers have said the right to privacy encompasses abortion. They argued previous state Supreme Court decisions already extended the right to bodily autonomy.
The justices’ limited ruling left the door open for future changes. The state House and Senate failed to agree on additional restrictions during this past summer’s special session on abortion. Still, a small but growing group of conservative lawmakers have vowed to push that envelope once more this legislative session — despite some Republican leaders’ insistence no agreement is possible.
In a statement to The Associated Press, South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson applauded the ruling Thursday, which he said amounted to “a voice of reason and sanity to temper the Republicans’ legislative actions to strip rights away from women and doctors.”
Republican South Carolina House Speaker G. Murrell Smith, Jr., wrote in a series of tweets that the state justices “followed the path of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade by creating a constitutional right to an abortion where none exists.” Smith added the decision failed to respect the separation of powers.
Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard contributed to this report. James Pollard is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
(CNN) — Bed Bath & Beyond issued a grim message about its future Thursday, warning that a bankruptcy filing is a possible outcome for the company.
There is “substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue” because of its worsening financial situation, the home goods chain said in a regulatory filing Thursday.
The company added that it is exploring strategic alternatives, including restructuring its debt, seeking additional cash, selling assets and filing for bankruptcy.
Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock plunged more than 20% during early trading Thursday. It dipped below $2 a share, an all-time low.
“Bed Bath & Beyond is too far gone to be saved in its present form,” Neil Saunders, an analyst at GlobalData Retail, said in a note to clients Thursday. “All of this points to bankruptcy as being the most likely outcome.”
The company’s announcement marked the latest sign of trouble at one of the most popular retailers in America for decades. Founded in 1971, Bed Bath & Beyond became a staple for affordable home decor, kitchenware and college dorm room furniture. The retailer became known for its ubiquitous 20% off blue coupons and cavernous stores with merchandise stacked high to the ceilings. Brands coveted a spot on Bed Bath & Beyond shelves.
But the company struggled to make the transition to online shopping and fend off larger chains such as Walmart and Target. Many shoppers switched to those competitors as the novelty of Bed Bath & Beyond’s coupons faded — consumers ca find plenty of cheaper alternatives on Amazon and other online sites.
The company also was hit hard during the pandemic, closing stores temporarily durin 2020 while rivals remained open. The company lost 17% of its sales in 2020 and 14% in 2021.
Bed Bath & Beyond has rotated through several different executives and turnaround strategies in recent years, including former Target executive Mark Tritton, who left the company last year after less than three years as CEO.
As of February 2022, Bed Bath & Beyond had 950 stores and 32,000 workers. The company also owns chidren’s retailer buybuy Baby.
The chain said in August that it will lay off approximately 20% of corporate employees, close around 150 stores and slash several of its in-house home goods’ brands.
Bed Bath & Beyond said Thursday that net sales for the company’s latest quarter, which included Black Friday, dropped 33% to $1.25 billion from the same time a year ago. Its losses grew 40% to $385 million from a year ago.
On Thursday, CEO Sue Grove said “we have a clear vision for the future of the company” and asked for patience.
“Transforming an organization of our size and scale requires time, and we anticipate that each coming quarter will build on our progress,” she said.