Abbott Labs pulls Meridia from market

Abbott Laboratories said Friday that it was pulling Meridia from the market, due to the diet drug's increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Abbott Laboratories said Friday that it was pulling Meridia from the market, due to the diet drug's increased risk of heart attacks and strokes and growing pressure from the Food and Drug Administration.

Sales of Meridia, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997, were halted in Europe in January. 

The move highlighted how few weight loss drugs have been approved by the FDA, despite the millions of dollars spent by drug companies to research and address obesity in the US. According to Reuters, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Orexigen Therapeutics, and Vivus are three companies awaiting FDA approval for weight loss drugs.

The FDA held a public meeting on Vivus' obesity drug, Qnexa, this summer and a final decision on the drug is expected later this month.

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