Allergan Intends To Sell Lap-Band Unit During First Half of the Year
The Lap-Band procedure is used to treat obesity by surgically implanting a ring around the stomach to discourage overeating.
In December 2011, FDA sent warning letters to the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing campaign for the Lap-Band procedure and its affiliated surgery centers regarding ads that it said were misleading about the surgery.
The company later added a disclosure to its website, saying the surgeries can result in death.
Since 2009, five Southern California patients have died after having the Lap-Band procedure, according to autopsy reports, lawsuits and public records.
According to health insurer Aetna, the California Department of Insurance is investigating the business practices of weight-loss surgery centers associated with the marketing initiative (California Healthline, 2/8/12).
In June 2012, two former employees of a surgery center associated with the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing campaign filed a lawsuit alleging that the centers used improperly sterilized equipment during Lap-Band weight-loss surgeries and failed to notify several patients who might have been exposed to hepatitis C (California Healthline, 6/14/12).
In addition, members of the U.S. House last year called for an investigation into the advertisements, as well as the safety and effectiveness of the Lap-Band device (California Healthline, 2/8/12).
Details of Allergan's Plans
According to Allergan, sales for obesity intervention devices fell to $36.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 22% decrease from the previous year.David Pyott, Allergan's CEO, said the company plans to invest more in research and development and "manag[e] our portfolio to drive long-term sales growth" ("KPCC News," KPCC, 2/5). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.