Allergan's obesity device approved for broader use

Allergan said late Wednesday night that the FDA approved Lap-Band, its adjustable gastric banding system, for broader use.

Allergan said late Wednesday night that the FDA approved Lap-Band, its adjustable gastric banding system, for broader use.

The device approval shows a contrast to the federal agency's stance on drugs that would treat obesity.

In the last six months, Abbott Labs pulled diet drug Meridia from the market and the FDA failed to approve three obesity drugs - Contrave, Qnexa, and lorcaserin.

Allergan launched a campaign in May to encourage policymakers to recognize obesity as a disease. The Irvine, CA-based drug and device maker is working with Chandler Chicco Agency on the "Choosing Health over Obesity Inspiring Change through Empowerment" effort.

Lap-Band is now approved for adult patients with a body mass index between 30 and 40 and who have been diagnosed with at least one obesity-related condition such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. It had previously only been available to severely obese adult patients with a body mass index of 40 or more, or patients with a BMI of 35 and diagnosis of at least one obesity-related condition.

More than 26 million adults in the US are now eligible for Lap-Band surgery, compared to the 15 million to 18 million that were previously eligible, according to Allergan's estimates.

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