Fake Alli Sold on Internet
'Potentially Harmful' Drug in Look-alike Weight Loss Pills
WebMD News Archive
Jan. 19, 2010 -- Fake, "potentially harmful" versions of the weight
loss drug Alli are being sold on Internet auction sites such as eBay, the
FDA and GlaxoSmithKline warn.
The counterfeit Alli looks a lot like the real thing. But the pills are
filled not with orlistat -- the main ingredient in GSK's Alli and in Roche's Xenical. Instead, they are filled with sibutramine.
Sibutramine, the main ingredient in the prescription weight
loss drug Meridia, affects chemical signals in the brain and should not be
used without a doctor's oversight. The drug should not be used by certain
Moreover, Alli is taken three times daily while Meridia is meant to be taken
only once a day.
So far, the fake Alli has been sold only in 60 milligram, 120-count refill
packs. They are falsely being sold as the real thing.
To date, GlaxoSmithKline says it has received no word that the fake Alli has
been sold in retail stores or anyplace other than on the Internet.
Here's how to identify the fake product, according to GSK:
- The LOT code information is missing from the top of the box.
- The expiration date includes month, day, and year (example: 06162010). The
authentic Alli expiration date includes only the month and year (example:
- The seal on the bottle should read "SEALED FOR YOUR PROTECTION" in white
ink on GlaxoSmithKline's Alli bottle; This statement is not present on the fake
- The capsule size is slightly larger in the counterfeit pills and the
contents of the capsules are different -- the counterfeit content is powdery
and the genuine product is more of a pellet shape.
Pictures of the real and fake product can be seen on GlaxoSmithKline's
myalli.com web site and on the FDA web site.
If you think you may have purchased the fake Alli, the FDA would like to
hear from you at www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/email/oc/oci/contact.cfm or
by calling 800-551-3989.