ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOX) – A local company played a big role in testing the safety of a new weight loss drug that hits the market this week.

Belviq is the first new drug approved for weight loss in over a decade. It is a pill that tricks the brain into thinking it is full, causing users to eat less.

Beth Gregory with Biomedical Systems in west St. Louis County managed the thousands of echocardiograms studied to determine the drug was safe to use.

“Over the course of three-and-a-half years, Biomedical Systems processed over roughly 35,000 echocardiograms,” she explained. “That’s an extremely high volume. Actually, it was the highest study awarded to us to date and the largest mandated echo trial by the FDA.”

In 1997, the popular weight loss drug Fen-Phen was pulled from the market after cardiac concerns in users.

“According to the papers that have been published, statistically speaking they did not see anything related to valvulopathies that they felt was of any concern and the FDA obviously agreed with what their findings were,” Gregory said.

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