The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories has agreed to remove its obesity drug Meridia off of the market. The Illinois company voluntarily withdrew the drug because trial studies showed an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in individuals who used the drug. Nearly 8 million people worldwide have been taking the weight loss drug, including 100,000 Americans who use the recalled product. The drug had projected sales of $30 million in the U.S. this year.
The director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research announced that the drug’s continued availability is not justified when one compares the very modest weight loss gained with the product liability risks of heart attack or stroke. The original data on the drug showed that individuals who took the drug lost at least 5 percent more of their body weight than those who were on a placebo and relied on diet and exercise alone.
The FDA requested that the Illinois company withdraw the dangerous drug adfter reviewing data from a follow-up study. It showed a 16 percent increase in the risk of many serious product liability side effects, including non-fatal heart attacks, non-fatal strokes, and death. The FDA could not find one person whose benefit from the drug outweighed its risk.
Read more about the drug pulled from the market at CNN.