US pharmaceutical firm Abbott Laboratories said that it will withdraw slimming drug Sibutramine from Taiwan over health concerns.
Abbott made the announcement after Taiwan's Department of Health ordered 15 kinds of slimming drugs, including Sibutramine, be removed from shelves on 11 October 2010.
Those weight-loss drugs that had already been sold must be recalled, the council said.
The council issued the order after some 302 Taiwanese fell ill after taking slimming drugs containing Sibutramine. Press reports said that at least one woman died after taking Sibutramine.
In its announcement, Abbott said while it still believes Sibutramine "has positive effects" for those who are suitable to take it, it was willing to obey Taiwan's instruction and withdraw the drug.
Alternative prescriptions recommended
"We suggest those who are taking Sibutramine as a slimming drug to ask doctors for alternative prescriptions. Patients can get refund for the purchased Sibutramine," it added.
Several countries' health authorities have expressed concern about the safety of Sibutramine, after a study showed it has limited slimming effect but, in people with history of cardiovascular illnesses, can increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke.
Abbott Laboratories withdrew Sibutramine from the United States and Australia.
(Reuters Health, October 2010)
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