The pill is thought to trigger chemical signals that make people want to eat less. But early studies, done in rats, gave hints that it might also cause cancer. Since Belviq was approved, researchers have been conducting a five-year-long study to look at the drug’s safety profile.
The FDA said Thursday that those higher risks were significant enough for the agency to take the rare step of calling for the drug’s removal. About 7.7 percent of Belviq patients had cancer diagnoses, compared with 7.1 percent of patients who got a placebo.
Eisai said in a statement that it believes Belviq’s benefits for overweight and obese patients outweigh the drug’s risks.
“However, based on the change in FDA’s risk-benefit assessment and as requested by the agency, Eisai has agreed to voluntarily withdraw the products from the U.S. market,” the Tokyo-based company said.
Facebook to allow new paid political messages
Facebook decided Friday to allow a type of paid political message that had sidestepped many of the social network’s rules governing political ads.
Its policy change comes days after Democratic presidential contender Mike Bloomberg exploited a loophole to run humorous messages promoting his campaign on the accounts of popular Instagram personalities followed by millions of younger people.
The change involves what Facebook calls “branded content” — sponsored items posted by ordinary users who are typically paid by companies or organizations. Advertisers pay the influential users directly to post about their brand.
Facebook makes no money from such posts and does not consider them advertising. As a result, branded content isn’t governed by Facebook’s advertising policies, which require candidates and campaigns to verify their identity with a U.S. ID or mailing address and disclose how much they spent running each ad.
Until Friday, Facebook tried to deter the use of paid posts through influential users as political messages. Specifically, it barred political campaigns from using a tool designed to help advertisers run branded posts on Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
Friday’s rule change will now allow campaigns in the United States to use this tool, provided they’ve been authorized by Facebook to run political ads and disclose who paid for the sponsored posts.
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