FDA

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A weight-loss drug described as a 'game-changer' by obesity researchers has just been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), representing the first time the agency has endorsed such a treatment in several years.

Wegovy, a weight-management therapy to be manufactured by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, is the the first FDA-approved weight-loss drug since 2014, but it's not entirely a new medication.

The same drug, called semaglutide, has been used in the US and other countries as an anti-diabetic medication for years. More recently, however, evidence has shown that semaglutide at a different dosage also functions as a powerful and effective appetite-suppressant.

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The action would not remove menthol tobacco from stores immediately, but rather kick off the rule-making process to do so, which could take several years.

The Food and Drug Administration appears likely to move to ban menthol in cigarettes this week — a step, experts say, that has been years in the making and that could have a significant positive impact on the health of Black Americans.

The FDA's decision would not ban menthol immediately, but rather kick off the rule-making process to do so, which could take years.

"The winds are definitely in our favor," said Delmonte Jefferson, executive director of the Center for Black Health & Equity, citing both the decades of data that show that the cooling flavor in cigarettes makes it easier to start smoking combined with the current cultural momentum toward improving the lives of Black Americans.

When inhaled, menthol produces a cooling sensation in the throat, reducing the harsh taste of cigarettes and the irritation of nicotine. The vast majority of Black smokers — 85 percent — use menthol cigarettes. And Black men and women are much less likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with lung cancer at an earlier, potentially more treatable stage. Black men have the highest lung cancer death rate in the country.

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