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California Products Liability?: FDA Warns that Lap-Band Ads are Misleading

December 31, 1969

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to the marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN and eight surgical centers that advertisements for the Lap-Band are misleading. The surgical device is used to treat obesity by limiting how much food a person can eat. Lap-Band is made by Allergan, which is based in Irvine.

According to the FDA, the 1-800-GET-THIN ads don't include mandatory information about all the possible side effects and risks that can come with using the Lap-Band. Certain precautions, contraindications, and other warnings are also not provided. The federal agency is worried that on the ad inserts, the font size of the information that talks about the risks is not big enough that consumers will see it.

Products Liability

Improper marketing that results in someone sustaining serious injury can be grounds for an Orange County, California products liability lawsuit. Examples of marketing defects:

• Failure to warn of dangers, risks, or side effects
• Inadequate warning
• Improper labeling
• Marketing to the wrong group (For example, promoting a product to kids when it should only be used by adults.)

1-800-GET-THIN LLC offers information sessions and consultations about Lap-Band surgeries. Of the surgical centers that received the FDA warning, a number of them are in Los Angeles County: Beverly Hills Surgery Center, Valley Surgical Center, Palmdale Ambulatory Center, Cosmopolitan Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, and Cosmopolitan Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

The FDA says that unless the ads are revised to address its concerns, the government agency may seize the Lap-Band or impose fines. The companies that received the FDA warning have 15 business days to present their plans for how they intend to change the ads.

"It is irresponsible to incorrectly market any product by failing to warn about the risks involved," said Howard Law, PC partner and Anaheim products liability attorney Vincent Howard. "You may be able to hold the responsible parties liable for the harm you or your loved one suffered."

Lap-Band Surgery
Considered by some to be a safer alternative to gastric bypass, Lap-Band surgery is a surgical alternative to weight loss that can be used for medical reasons or cosmetic purposes. The procedure involves using the band to section the stomach into parts. This allows food to go to the smaller sectioned off area, which will limit how much the person can take in. This usually leads to substantial weight loss. Unfortunately, injuries and deaths have occurred, and plaintiffs have come forward to file Orange County, California medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. Howard Law, PC has reported on a few of these cases and injury incidents, which you can read on our California Injury Lawyers.

FDA Targets Gastric Band Weight-Loss Claims, Food and Drug Administration

Feds warn that 1-800-Get-Thin ads mislead, OC Register, December 13, 2011

FDA Warns Centers for Misleading Lap-Band Ads, ABC News/AP, December 13, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Los Angeles County Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Claims Lap-Band Surgery Caused Wife's Wrongful Death, California Injury Lawyers, March 9, 2011

Family of Lawndale Woman to Pursue Los Angeles Surgery Malpractice Action Over Her California Wrongful Death from Lap-Band Surgery, California Injury Lawyers, April 27, 2011

Los Angeles Medical Malpractice?: California Medical Board Investigates Surgeon Following Lawndale Woman's Death After Lap-Band Procedure, California Injury Lawyers, February 4, 2011

Since 2009, there have been at least five patient deaths involving Lap-Bands. The Los Angeles Times reports that the fatalities occurred at clinics linked to the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing campaign.

Contact Howard Law, PC at to request a free case evaluation. Our Anaheim defective medical device lawyers represent clients throughout Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County.