NPR spoke to Dr Misra about the recent, troubling news that a group of clinics in southern California are under investigation by authorities for potential billing fraud, unsafe clinical practices, and inappropriate marketing of the Lap Band. In the article Dr Misara “says she’s glad regulators are looking into the practices, but she says many of her patients are getting the wrong message. ‘For a lot of patients, the band might be the perfect operation for them and we don’t want them to be afraid of it because they think that it is such a dangerous operation”…
The article also discussed the California clinics which are now under investigation by Congress, and were marketed under the name 1-800-GET-THIN. “The Food and Drug Administration recently sent a warning letter to the 1-800-GET-THIN marketers ordering them to include more prominent safety warnings. The group’s website now has disclaimers, but an FDA spokeswoman said the agency could not comment whether the marketers had fully complied with the warning. She would only say that firms are expected to correct violations, and failure to do so may result in enforcement action.
Those new disclaimers are too little and too late for Alexander Robertson, a lawyer who has brought five different lawsuits, including two wrongful death claims, against the 1-800-GET-THIN marketers and its affiliated surgeons.”
Dr Misra and other bariatric surgeons around the country hope to see stricter monitoring of the surgeons who choose to offer the Lap Band procedure in their practices. The Lap Band is a great operation for some patients, but it’s critical to have a surgeon review your options with you, and make sure you understand all the risks, benefits, and potential complications of each bariatric surgery before making your own choice.
You can read NPR’s full article, and listen to their interview with Dr Misra here.