Jeff Stier

Public Citizen’s argument is further weakened by the fact that there are so few other FDA approved weight loss drugs. Specifically, Orlistat is the only drug in its class, a weight loss-loss drug which does not suppress the appetite. So critics cannot even argue that there are safer drugs like it which have the same benefit.

It is important to note that Xenical is not a magic bullet against obesity. Proper diet and exercise are critical. But the drug did show increased weight-loss in those who maintained a proper regimen, over and above those on the same regimen but who did not take the drug. And the science is clear, even losing a few extra pounds (and keeping them off) provides significant health benefits over the long term.

The already hyper-cautious FDA should ignore Public Citizen's latest effort to reduce our access to medicines, which, with risk taken into account, still benefit many patients.

Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and directs its Risk Analysis Division. You can follow him on Twitter at @JeffAStier.