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U.S. regulatory panel backs approval for Merck C. difficile drug

June 9 (Reuters) - Merck & Co's experimental drug to treat the most common cause of hospital-associated infectious diarrhea warrants approval, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.

The panel voted 10-5 that the drug, bezlotoxumab, was effective in preventing a recurrence of infection with Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, a germ that causes inflammation of the colon and potentially fatal diarrhea.

The FDA is not obliged to follow the advice of its advisory panels but typically does.

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Andrew Hay)