Glaxo Recalls Weight-Loss Drug Alli on Tampering Concern

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) is recalling its weight-loss drug Alli in the U.S. and Puerto Rico after receiving complaints from consumers in seven states.

Customers reported that bottles contained tablets and capsules of various shapes and colors, rather than the usual turquoise blue capsule, London-based Glaxo said in a statement. Some packages were tampered with and some bottles had missing labels and seals that weren’t authentic, it said.

The recall marks another setback for Glaxo on Alli, which has been linked to reports of liver injury. Glaxo added a warning about liver risks to the over-the-counter product in 2010. The company is conducting an investigation and working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the suspected tampering, it said.

“Safety is our first priority and we are asking retailers and pharmacies to remove all Alli from their shelves immediately,” said Colin Mackenzie, president of Glaxo’s North American consumer health-care division. “We have posted a Consumer Alert on our website,, and issued a news release with information and photographs to help consumers determine if their Alli is authentic.”

Consumer reports about possible tampering came from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina and Texas, according to the statement.

Glaxo said in 2011 it would try to sell Alli along with other slow-growing consumer brands. A year later, the company said it would keep the product in its portfolio.

Sales of the weight-loss pill totaled 203 million pounds ($338 million) in 2009, the last year Glaxo broke out revenue for individual consumer products.

Alli contains orlistat, a chemical that blocks the intestines from absorbing fat when taken as many as three times a day with meals.

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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at Marthe Fourcade, Thomas Mulier

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