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LETTER: Losing weight with a pill

Since the FDA approved GLP-1 agents for obesity, there seems to have evolved a mushrooming business via consumer exploitation. I could not believe when one of the so-called weight management companies offered me a job consisting solely of providing prescriptions without even having a conversation with patients.

What they are literally asking physicians to do is to approve a drug no matter the justification and regardless of patient health conditions such as diet, exercise, alcohol intake, side-effect profile, follow-up conditions, etc. As long as you pay (or insurance does), you got it covered.

Are we not being complicit in exacerbating an unhealthy atmosphere of body dysmorphia, economic disparity and cosmetic perfectness without actually living healthy? Do we even know the long-term side effects of such drugs? With the information we have, is it fair to equate this type of weight loss to long-term survival? Most studies are unable to reflect that.

For some cardiovascular conditions and diabetes we have seen short-term benefits — but those studies were all carried out by pharmaceutical companies under controlled environments in patients with serious obesity-related illnesses. As a physician I cannot stop being alarmed at the potential serious harms to society and individuals, not only psychologically, emotionally and financially but also physiologically. I am afraid we are creating a new era of illicit drug use.

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