Targeting Teens for Gastric Bands
August 10, 2010
After seeing patients die or suffer serious complications following Lap-Band surgery, Dr. Neelu Pal began quietly calling patients about to undergo the procedure, telling them she feared for their safety. She was fired weeks after hospital authorities learned about it.
During her time at NYU Langone Medical Center's Surgical Weight Loss Program, Pal witnessed two surgeons -- Dr. Christine Ren and Dr. George Fielding -- implant gastric bands into as many as 20 patients in a single day.
Fielding and Ren are also paid consultants of Allergan Inc, the Botox and breast implant maker which is the leading manufacturer of the gastric band.
And their business could soon increase even more if U.S. regulators grant permission to perform the procedure on overweight teens.
"Ren was an investigator in an Allergan-sponsored clinical trial studying the use of bands on teens. And the company has an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking approval to market the device to teens as young as 14. A decision could come any time."