Last month, the Food and Drug Administration announced new criteria that will make Lap-Band weight-loss surgery available to millions more overweight Americans. Pharmaceutical giant Allergan Inc., which makes the device, estimates an astounding 26.4 million more people are now eligible, massively increasing the California-based company’s profits. But it isn’t only Allergan welcoming the FDA decision.
“We have a major obesity dilemma in the Western world. Well, the whole world,” says Dr. Scott Shikora, the director of Boston-based Tufts Medical Center’s Weight and Wellness Center. “Currently, the Lap-Band is the best option. … These are people who have tried a multitude of programs. There is nothing else out there. Will the FDA’s decision open the floodgates? I don’t think so, because the question is, ‘Will insurers cover it?’”
Though Lap-Band surgery may limit the amount of food a patient eats, it doesn’t alter psychological factors for overeating. As Dr. Shikora puts it, “There is no magic pill or program for weight loss.”
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