Wednesday, 28 December 2011

FDA Says Lap-Band Marketing Company Fails to Warn of Risks to Patients

The Food and Drug Administration is accusing a marketing company of failing to warn patients about the risks of lap band surgery, in its marketing and promotion campaign. The 1-800-GET- THIN marketing company has promoted its weight loss surgery on billboards and via radio and television ads. However, the Food and Drug Administration says that the company doesn't adequately warn about the risks of the surgery. The campaign does mention some of the risks of the surgery, but the typeface is so small that it's barely visible, and patients are likely to miss it.

California medical malpractice lawyers have been especially concerned about the growing number of deaths associated with lap band surgery. Since 2009 alone, 5 patients in southern California have died after they underwent lap-band weight loss surgery in centers that were associated with the campaign.

The 1-800-GET- THIN marketing company does not actually provide the surgery, but refers potential clients to surgery centers, surgeons and facilities that perform the services. The marketing campaign includes dozens of billboards dedicated to promoting lap band surgery.

Now, the Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to 1-800-GET-THIN and 8 of its affiliated surgery centers. The warning letter says that the advertisers must do a better job of making clear the risks of the surgery. The Food and Drug Administration says that the marketing company is required to make available all information that patients need, including data about safety risks.

This is the first time that the federal agency has cracked down on advertisements by the company. The action by the federal agency comes after criticism by relatives of patients who died after they underwent lap band surgery, and even Lap-Band manufacturer Allergan.

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