GlaxoSmithKline, a large, multinational pharmaceutical company located in Brentford, London, has issued a complete and total recall of the extremely popular weight-loss drug known as ‘Alli’ in both Puerto Rico and the United States.
The company known as GSK has received customer complaints in seven states including Florida, New York and Texas, about a number of bottles that contained other tablets and capsules of varied colors and shapes in addition to the actual blue Alli pills. It has been reported that a few bottles were also missing their labels.
Alli is also available in Europe, but the company said that there were no complaints from those quarters, and that the recall of the weight-loss drug in the United States and Puerto Rico had not affected sales in Europe.
GSK has also stated that it has not been made clear exactly where in the chain of supply the problem had occurred with the tampering.
Alli, which had long been praised for being the only non-prescription weight-loss medication to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, had also been the subject of a study which concluded that those who took Alli, aided by a low-fat and reduced-calorie diet, were able to lose 50 percent more weight than those who stuck to diet alone. It was also found in a clinical trial that Alli helped to alleviate blood pressure in those who had been taking the weight loss drug for a year.
A prescription version of Alli that was sold under the name Xenical contained a higher dosage of the strongest active ingredient present in Alli, which was commonly prescribed to those who underwent weight-loss surgery to aid in weight maintenance.
The drug has been sold in United States pharmacies since June of 2007, and in 27 other countries starting in January 2009. It has been reported that in recent years, unrelated to the recall, Alli had suffered disappointing sales caused by a supply problem and has since been unable to match the forecast of sales analysts, which predicted $500 million to $1 billion.
GSK is currently working with the Food and Drug Administration on the investigation of tampering, and are asking customers who have recently purchased the weight-loss drug Alli to make sure their product matches the official description, which are described as, “turquoise blue with a navy blue band and the black text ’60 Orlistat.'” They are also asked to be certain the inner foil seal in the bottle has the words “Sealed for Your Protection,” as there have also been reports of fake tamper-evident seals.
Any consumers who do have issues with their products are being urged to call GSK at 800-671-2554, and their physicians, if they believe they have taken a pill that was not an actual Alli pill.
“Our number one priority is safety,” said Colin Mackenzie, President of Consumer Healthcare North America. “We regret any inconvenience this has caused to any affected by this recall.”
Prior to the recall, Alli had been sold in retail stores and everyone, including stores and pharmacies, have been urged to clear out their inventories and send the remaining items of the weight loss drug back for reevaluation.
By Jessica Cooley