Allergan Inc. Launches Public Awareness and Advocacy Campaign to Urge Greater Attention to Critical Need for Both Prevention and Treatment to Effectively Address Adult Obesity

Published: May 13, 2010

IRVINE, Calif., May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Allergan, Inc., (NYSE: AGN) makers of the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System, announced today the launch of a new national public awareness and advocacy campaign called C.H.O.I.C.E. Choosing Health over Obesity Inspiring Change through Empowerment which advocates for consumers, healthcare professionals and Congress to work together to successfully address the obesity epidemic through a dual focus on prevention and treatment. The campaign calls for greater understanding and recognition that obesity is NOT a choice self-selected by those struggling with excess weight, but rather a serious disease that remains the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, second only to smoking,(2) and as such requires the same national attention and urgent treatment as other serious diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Through a range of initiatives starting in May 2010, the C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign will drive and encourage dialogue and action among communities, members of the media and Congress to change how America views obesity and raise awareness of the critical need for greater access to and acceptance of all effective treatments to fight obesity, including weight-loss surgery for those individuals who are severely obese (defined as approximately 100 pounds or more overweight).

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:

As recognized by President Obama and the Administration's team of healthcare advisors, obesity is one of the most significant public health threats, due to its prevalence and financial burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Currently, more than 70 million Americans are obese,(1) with approximately 15 million of them being 100 pounds or more overweight.(3) The annual cost related to being overweight and obese is now projected at $147 billion per year, representing 10 percent of all medical expenses.(4) Given obesity correlates to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even premature death,(1) obesity is a disease that requires medical treatment. Too often, obesity is misperceived as a personal choice resulting from bad lifestyle and eating habits, but medical research now indicates obesity has more to do with science and the biology of fat, rather than lack of will power or discipline.(5) The C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign aims to educate the public that until the stigma associated with obesity is removed and it is recognized as a complex disease that necessitates a focus on both prevention and treatment, including weight-loss surgery, these startling statistics will continue to rise.

"As the leader in the obesity intervention market, Allergan initiated the C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign to change the pervasive misperceptions about obesity in the United States and redefine what constitutes effective treatment beyond just prevention tools. Our goal is to help those individuals who are currently suffering from the disease and to lower the extraordinary cost of obesity on our healthcare system," said David E.I. Pyott, CBE, Allergan's Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. "We believe that this change of perception will only happen when we directly elevate the issue in the public domain and demand a focus on both prevention and treatment to ultimately help those who are obese regain their health and lives."

2010 C.H.O.I.C.E. Initiatives

The cornerstone of the C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign is to provide a national platform for all people consumers, caregivers, advocacy groups, healthcare professionals, medical societies and members of Congress to learn the facts about obesity, spread the word and actively participate in the campaign to call for greater awareness and action on both a federal and state level. People wanting to join the fight against obesity and contribute to easing the burden on our healthcare system can become involved in the following initiatives taking place throughout 2010, and further described on the C.H.O.I.C.E. Web site,

  1. Petition to Congress Sign an online petition asking Congress to acknowledge that while preventative measures such as diet and exercise are critical strategies for combating obesity, they alone cannot resolve the obesity epidemic. New policies are needed to ensure a focus on both prevention and treatment and to provide greater access to all obesity treatments, including weight-loss surgery, for those 100 pounds or more overweight and for whom the preponderance of medical evidence shows diet and exercise alone are ineffective.(6) The signed petition will be hand-delivered to legislators in September by a group of consumer advocates who will share their personal struggles and life-long journey of combating obesity. The campaign's goal is to secure 250,000 signatures to represent Allergan's $250,000 donation to The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services' Department of Health Policy in support of its Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance.
  2. Facebook Cause Join the C.H.O.I.C.E. Cause page on Facebook. By joining the Cause Facebook page, people have the opportunity to show their support for the C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign on their personal Facebook profile pages and publicize the Cause to their network of friends. Similar to the online Petition, the campaign's goal is to have 250,000 people join the Facebook Cause, to show that together the voice of 250,000 can make a difference in the battle against obesity.
  3. Twitter Stay up-to-date by following the campaign on the C.H.O.I.C.E. Twitter page at @CHOICEcampaign. Tweet about the C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign and become a public advocate fighting against obesity!
  4. Voice My C.H.O.I.C.E. Contest Program For individuals who have had a lifetime of struggling with obesity and found help through weight-loss surgery, they can explore entering the LAP-BAND® System Patient Contest Program on to share their story and help others in need of support. LAP-BAND® System patients can enter the online contest by submitting a short essay or video regarding their weight-loss journey and how losing weight has impacted their lives and health. Twelve winners will be selected by an independent judging panel and will travel to Washington, D.C., to hand deliver the petition to legislators. The winners will serve as a voice for those whose weight struggles continue and urge legislators to understand the importance of access to all effective treatments. For information about the Voice My C.H.O.I.C.E. Contest Program, including rules, submission criteria and to enter, visit
  5. Social Media Tools Download the following social media tools to spread the campaign message, educate and invite others to become involved in the fight against the obesity epidemic: links for joining the Facebook Cause, campaign-related tweets for supporters to use on their own Twitter pages, information to share on blogs and wallpapers/banners/icons to lend and show support for the campaign.

Supporting the Cause of Obesity Prevention and Treatment

As part of the C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign, Allergan will give a $250,000 donation to The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services' Department of Health Policy for its Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance. STOP is a group of consumer, provider, government, labor, business, health insurers and quality-of-care organizations helping to change how America perceives and approaches the problem of obesity and overweight and weight-related health risks, including heart disease and diabetes. Allergan's donation will support STOP Obesity Alliance's public health and policy initiatives to slow the spread of obesity and treat those already affected by the disease.

"Too often, obesity is not treated with the same intensity and seriousness as other chronic conditions. Stigma prevents those who are overweight and obese from getting the treatment they need to regain their health and improve their quality of life," said Christine Ferguson, J.D. Professor of Public Health at The George Washington University and Director of STOP. "We are in critical need of supporters like Allergan to join us in our commitment to this issue and in addressing the stigma head on. Educating and aligning consumers, advocacy groups, healthcare professionals and Congress through the C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign is another important step in the collaborative effort to overcome the epidemic of obesity."

To learn more about the C.H.O.I.C.E. Campaign and the many ways to become actively involved, go to

Important LAP-BAND® Safety Information

Indications: The LAP-BAND® System is indicated for use in weight reduction for severely obese patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40, or a BMI of at least 35 with one or more severe comorbid conditions, or those who are 100 lbs. or more over their estimated ideal weight.

Contraindications: The LAP-BAND® System is not recommended for non-adult patients, patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results (e.g., inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, GI conditions, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, cirrhosis) who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, who have alcohol or drug addictions or who currently are or may be pregnant.

Warnings: The LAP-BAND® System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition, may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

Adverse Events: Placement of the LAP-BAND® System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure and the patient's ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body.

Band slippage, erosion and deflation, reflux, obstruction of the stomach, dilation of the esophagus, infection or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required.

Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.

Important: For full safety information, please visit, talk with your doctor or call Allergan Product Support at 1-800-624-4261.

CAUTION: Rx only.

About Allergan, Inc.

Founded in 1950, Allergan, Inc., with headquarters in Irvine, California, is a multi-specialty health care company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices that enable people to live life to its greatest potential - to see more clearly, move more freely, express themselves more fully. The Company employs more than 8,300 people worldwide and operates state-of-the-art R&D facilities and world-class manufacturing plants. In addition to its discovery-to-development research organization, Allergan has global marketing and sales capabilities with a presence in more than 100 countries.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," including the statements by Mr. Pyott, and other statements regarding the safety, effectiveness, adverse reactions, product availability and market potential of the LAP-BAND® System. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from Allergan's expectations and projections. Risks and uncertainties include, among other things, general industry and medical device market conditions; technological advances and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in the research and development and regulatory processes; challenges related to new product marketing, such as the unpredictability of market acceptance for new products and/or the acceptance of new indications for such products; inconsistency of treatment results among patients; potential difficulties in manufacturing a new product formulation; general economic conditions; and governmental laws and regulations affecting domestic and foreign operations. Allergan expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements except as required by law. Additional information concerning these and other risk factors can be found in press releases issued by Allergan, as well as Allergan's public periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the discussion under the heading "Risk Factors" in Allergan's 2009 Form 10-K and Allergan's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2010. Copies of Allergan's press releases and additional information about Allergan is available on the World Wide Web at or you can contact the Allergan Investor Relations department by calling (714) 246-4636.

© 2010 Allergan, Inc. Irvine, CA 92612. ® marks owned by Allergan, Inc. All rights reserved.

(1) The Obesity Society. Obesity Fact Sheets. What is Obesity? Available at Accessed 3/31/10.

(2) Mokdad AH, et al. Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000. JAMA. 2004; 291:1238-1245.

(3) American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Fact Sheet. Available at Accessed 4/8/10.

(4) Finkelstein et al. Health Affairs. 28, no. 5 (2009): w822w831.

(5) Roizen M, Oz M. You On A Diet. New York, Free Press, 2006: 77, 102, 114.

(6) Atkinson R, Hubbard V. Report on the NIH Workshop on Pharmacologic Treatment of Obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994; 60: 153-6.


SOURCE Allergan, Inc.

Back to news