Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Contrave Weight Loss Pill, Diet, and the Fifth Precept

Drugmaker revives obesity pill rejected by FDA

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. said Tuesday it is reviving its previously abandoned weight loss drug Contrave, after federal health officials outlined a plan that could bring the drug to market by 2014.
The surprise announcement returns Contrave to the race to be the first new prescription weight loss drug to reach the U.S. market in more than a decade.
Company shares leapt 95 cents, or 64.6 percent, to $2.42 in after hours trading. The stock was trading in the $9 range before the FDA rejection of Contrave, which wiped out about two-thirds of its value.
The Practical Buddhist Responds
Americans spend more on weight loss schemes than on food for the poor. We are fat because we have too much, and eat too much, and can't control ourselves.  We seek to drug ourselves so we won't pig out. The first company with a drug to accomplish this (without perilous side effects like heart attacks or nasty ones like "anal leakage") will become wealthy beyond dreams.  We want to eat everything that tastes good, as often as we feel like it, and have a pill to take away the consequences.
Some think the Fifth Precept is about not drinking alcohol, and in a sense it is, even in Buddhist countries like Thailand where beer drinking is popular.  Even in Thailand, though, I have been to many parties where the booze in your drink is typically one bottle cap, and one pint is good for a big party, for everybody, all night. Buddhists know that the Precepts are not prohibitions or commandments, but ideals for training.
Certainly the Fifth Precept invites moderation or even total abstinence from alcohol, but it seems much more relevant to our relationship with food, our bodies, and our planet.  Take a look at this version of the Fifth Precept (or Training) written by Thich Naht Hanh:

-Fifth Training-
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practising mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I am committed to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practising a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.

(Thich Nath Hanh, www.plumvillage.org)



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