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The LA Times reports that the FDA is finally taking action on the 1-800-GET THIN lap-band advertising program.

It's about time! The deaths that have occurred in some patients are tragic for the survivors of those who died, victims of an advertising campaign that arguably was only intended to put more money in the pockets of the surgeons selling and installing the device. Physicians are, and should be held in high esteem, but that esteem is based on the high ethical and professional standards we expect them to meet. Its doubly tragic when profit motive eclipses those standards, leading to injury and death.

At least some of the lap band claims, by the way, are based not only on theories of professional negligence, but also on traditional product defect law, i.e., breach of warranty and failure to warn. Some cases also include breach of contract and misrepresentation claims, on the theory the products weren't safe as used, and the physicians weren't skilled and experienced in the technique, contrary to the representations made to the patients.

Good thinking by the lawyers involved; the relatively short Statute of Limitations that applies to medical negligence cases could easily foreclose any relief for the vicitims' families; these attorneys' creativity may lead to justice after all.

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