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Lap-Band Surgery Gets the Attention of the FDA–Warnings on Billboard Ads For 1-800-GET-THIN and More

Posted Dec 15 2011 4:31pm

Yes I live out here and see the billboards all the time.  I have a couple friends who have undergone the procedure and there is risk and you do need to change your lifestyle afterwards for sure.  This article was in the LA Times and even the reporters here who have covered the story well have had lawsuits filed against them and judges have dismissed thank goodness.  You can read the December 9th warning from the FDA. 

What good a disclaimer if ones dies having an “elective” surgical procedure?  You can also read below to where the companies are having problems getting insurance coverage for their legal costs.  How does this come into play in the ER one might ask if a patient comes in with problems?  The link below kind of ask that exact question when a patient had surgery at a Beverly Hills center and later dies at a Huntington Beach hospital. 

The Lap-Band was given FDA approval and is made by Allergan and earlier this year was given approval for more wide spread use.  In 2009 it was approved in Europe and perhaps everyone is not a candidate here and the procedures and conditions seem to be the crux of this issue here in Los Angeles.  Other companies make a similar product that does the same thing and this appears to be the procedure and advertising efforts without full disclosure on the billboards.  BD 

It has taken almost two years, but government regulators finally woke up to the idea that those 1-800-GET-THIN billboards plastered all over Southland freeways may be dangerous to your health.
That's the underlying meaning of the action announced Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration against 1-800-GET-THIN and a bunch of affiliated surgical services and clinics. The FDA warned the marketing company and the clinics that they're in violation of federal law by promoting the Lap-Band, a weight loss device that has been implanted in thousands of patients, through "false or misleading" advertising.

Subsequently we reported on several deaths of Southland patients that occurred after surgeries performed at clinics that have been affiliated with the ad campaign, according to lawsuits, coroners' reports and other public records. So far the known toll is four, with a coroner's ruling still pending on the death of a fifth patient, who expired after being rushed to a hospital in September from the surgery center where she had just undergone the procedure.
We've reported on the shocking sanitary and safety conditions at one of the surgery centers affiliated with the ad campaign, and noted questions about whether the surgery centers' insurance billing has been proper.

The public record is brimming with material — including complaints of wrongful death, negligence and irregularities in billing practices — that could fall well within the jurisdiction of several state regulatory agencies. It may be that the FDA has fired the first shot in what could be a barrage. Certainly the message communicated by the FDA warning letters is of paramount importance to Southland motorists: When you pass a billboard advertising 1-800-GET-THIN, keep your eyes on the road.


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