Archive for December, 2010

2010 In Review

December 31st, 2010

The crack staff of the Downey Obesity Report has spent most of 2010 covering health, science and policy in obesity. Here is our selection of the best and the worst developments this year.

The Good News

First Place would have to go to President Obama’s Health Care Reform legislative milestone which included elimination of pre-existing conditions, inclusion of preventive services, including intensive behavioral counseling for obesity, and mandatory calorie labeling in restaurants as well as a host of preventive programs directed at obesity. 2010 March | The Downey Obesity Report

Second Place goes to First Lady Michelle Obama for her initiatives on obesity. While her program is not perfect, it is the first time childhood obesity has received such great prominence on the national agenda. Let’s Move

Third Place goes to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or more specifically two advisory committees. One recommended approval of a lower weight threshold for gastric banding surgery while the other recommended approval of Orexigen’s drug Contrave© for obesity, the first drug to win a recommendation since 1999. Downey Obesity Report

Honorable Mention goes to the U.S. Department of Agriculture which just announced that calorie information would be required on meat and poultry labels in 2012. Release No. 0673.10

The Bad News

First Place  goes to the FDA where one advisory committee voted against approval of a truly effective drug, Vivus Pharmaceutical’s Qnexa and for removal from the market of Abbott’s Meridia©  based on questionable evidence. Downey Obesity Report

Second Place goes to the United States Department of Agriculture whose program to aid fast food chains by promoting greater cheese consumption was exposed by the New York Time’s Michael Moss on November 6, 2010. While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales – NYTimes.com.

Third Place goes to Sarah Palin for politicizing childhood obesity by taking cheap shots at Michelle Obama’s initiatives. Some GOP stalwarts defend first lady’s anti-obesity campaign from Palin’s shots

Honorable Mention goes to Maura Kelly whose blog criticizing the TV show, Mike & Molly, for showing intimacy between two obese persons went viral before the inevitable apology. Maura Kelly on Mike and Molly – Overweight Couples on Television – Marie Claire

The Really Bad News

First Place goes to Air Transat which yanked a British man off a flight from London to Toronto for being unable to fit in his seat. The man was on the way to see his dying aunt. The man reportedly burst into tears and said he was made to feel like a criminal or terrorist. The aunt died before he could re-book with two seats. Man on way to see dying aunt told he is too fat to fly – Telegraph

Second Place goes to KFC for  the Double Down menu item, two pieces of chicken fillets sandwich two slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese, two slices of bacon and a special sauce. The Nutritional Lowdown On KFC’s Double Down : Shots – Health News Blog : NPR  KFC paid college women $500 to wear sweatpants with “Double Down” across their rears. KFC pastes its Double Down ad on more students’ butts – USATODAY.com

Third Place goes to the Whitecaps, a minor league baseball team in Comstock Park, Michigan which polled fans on new food offerings including the Twinkie Cheese Dog – a hot dog laid in a Twinkie and covered in cheese and Chocolate Covered Bacon. Food item poll | West Michigan Whitecaps Fans The Whitecaps just barely beat out the Wisconsin State Fair where patrons can find a cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme roll covered with chocolate covered bacon. Deep-fried is a Wisconsin State Fair specialty – JSOnline

The downeyobesityreport.com. would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2011.

FDA Panel Approves Obesity Drug

December 8th, 2010

In a surprise vote, the FDA Advisory Committee voted to approve Orexigen Therapeutics obesity drug, Contrave. The vote was 13 to 7. This is the first obesity drug to win approval since 1999. The FDA will make the final decision but they usually follow the recommendations of their advisory committees. This opens the door for Vivus to obtain approval since their drug, Qnexa, had a superior efficacy finding. It probably also helps Arena’s lorcaserin to obtain a more favorable decision by the FDA.  See F.D.A. Panel Backs New Diet Pill – NYTimes.com

FDA Panel Approves Obesity Drug

December 8th, 2010

In a surprise vote, the FDA Advisory Committee voted to approve Orexigen Therapeutics obesity drug, Contrave. The vote was 13 to 7. This is the first obesity drug to win approval since 1999. The FDA will make the final decision but they usually follow the recommendations of their advisory committees. This opens the door for Vivus to obtain approval since their drug, Qnexa, had a superior efficacy finding. It probably also helps Arena’s lorcaserin to obtain a more favorable decision by the FDA. See F.D.A. Panel Backs New Diet Pill – NYTimes.com

FDA Panel Approves Obesity Drug

December 7th, 2010

In a surprise vote, the FDA Advisory Committee voted to approve Orexigen Therapeutics obesity drug, Contrave. The vote was 13 to 7. This is the first obesity drug to win approval since 1999. The FDA will make the final decision but they usually follow the recommendations of their advisory committees. This opens the door for Vivus to obtain approval since their drug, Qnexa, had a superior efficacy finding. It probably also helps Arena’s lorcaserin to obtain a more favorable decision by the FDA.  See F.D.A. Panel Backs New Diet Pill – NYTimes.com

This is my oral statement to the Advisory Committee:

Good Afternoon. Thank you for this opportunity to testify on this important issue.

Obesity is a fatal, chronic, relapsing disease affecting both  genders, all races, ethnicities and ages. It is the most prevalent chronic disease of the 21st Century.

Obesity is recognized as a major cause of mortality, disability, morbidity, health care utilization and health care costs.

Increases in lifespan due to advances in the treatment of cardiovascular disease are being offset by increases in deaths due to obesity and diabetes.

No other disease combines obesity’s prevalence and prejudice, sickness and stigma, death and discrimination.

The question before the FDA is whether or not pharmacology will be part of the solution to the obesity epidemic.

The lack of FDA approval of an obesity drug since 1999 has resulted in both large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies pulling out of research and development of drugs to treat obesity.

Consumers are left with few choices.

Physicians have little to offer patients.

By its actions, the FDA is making it clear that this disease will not be treated by drugs. This is a staggering reversal of the FDA’s duty to protect the public health and an abandonment of millions of Americans trying to avoid the numerous adverse consequences of excess body weight.

I urge you to approve this medication.

FDA Panel Approves New Obesity Drug

December 7th, 2010

In a surprise vote, the FDA Advisory Committee voted to approve Orexigen Therapeutics obesity drug, Contrave. The vote was 13 to 8. This is the first obesity drug to win approval since 1999. The FDA will make the final decision but they usually follow the recommendations of their advisory committees. This opens the door for Vivus to obtain approval since their drug, Qnexa, had a superior efficacy finding. It probably also helps Arena’s lorcaserin to obtain a more favorable decision by the FDA.