Allergan Considers Exiting the LAP-BAND

November 2, 2012 — The Wall Street Journal reports that Allergan is considering a sale of its LAP-BAND® business. According to the story, LAP-BAND surgery has been declining as a result of the economy. Uncertain about their financial future or the stability of their jobs, many patients have chosen to put off bariatric surgery even if they have insurance coverage.

LAP-BAND surgery, which puts an adjustable, removable, saline-filled band around a patient’s stomach, helps reduce the amount of hunger patients feel and the amount of food they can comfortably eat, leading in most cases to a significant loss of weight. The procedure is considered to be less invasive than other forms of bariatric surgery, in part because it is reversible.

The number of total bariatric surgery procedures leveled off at around 220,000 per year when the great recession hit in 2008. But the LAP-BAND has been more severely affected, with banding procedures declining. Numbers for other procedures (gastric bypass, gastric sleeve) have held up better. Allergan’s stronger performing products, Botox and breast implants, have weathered the economic uncertainty better because their primary audience tends to be people with more economic flexibility. 

Read the Wall Street Journal article here and an article about the economics affecting LAP-BAND surgery from earlier in the year here.