US FDA panel gives nod to Vivus obesity drug

WASHINGTON Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:24pm EST

WASHINGTON Feb 22 (Reuters) - An experimental obesity drug from Vivus Inc won a U.S. panel's support on Wednesday, raising hopes regulators would approve a weight-loss pill for the first time in 13 years.

A panel of outside experts to the Food and Drug Administration voted 20-2 to recommend approval of Qnexa, meant to treat obesity and its accompanying health problems.

The FDA usually follows panel recommendations, although it is not required to, and a final decision is expected by April 17.