“Four years after launching the nonprescription diet pill Alli with much fanfare and a heavy marketing budget, U.K. drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) on Thursday said that it plans to sell off the drug,” according to this story in today’s WSJ.

Back in November, 2010, I noted that the EU would release data in December that could put Alli diet pill sales in the toilet (see here). GSK “acknowledged in February that demand for the drug was falling in the U.S. and Europe.”


GSK sold £150 million of Alli in 2007, £75 million in 2009, and £203 million in 2009 as GSK launched Alli throughout Europe. GSK didn’t break out Alli sales in 2010, but I bet it’s back down to £100 million level. Not exactly in the toilet yet.

I can’t wait to see who buys this lemon.


Public Citizen Asks FDA To Remove Two Diet Drugs From The Market.
ABC World News reported, “You’ve probably seen the ads for that diet pill Alli [orlistat] that promises safe weight loss without starving yourself. Forty million people have tried it or its prescription alternative Xenical, but complaints of nasty and dangerous side effects are increasing and for the second time in five years health advocates urged the government to ban it.”

The AP reports that “Public Citizen filed a petition with the FDA on Thursday calling on the agency to remove” both drugs “from the market.” The group “says it identified 47 cases of acute pancreatitis and 73 kidney stones among patients taking the drugs. The reports were culled from the FDA’s public database of negative drug reactions.”

New Research Links Orlistat To Increased Risk Of Acute Kidney Injury. 
HeartWire reported that “a review of patients taking the diet drug orlistat (Xenical/Alli, Roche) in Ontario, Canada over a seven-year period points to a 2% increase in acute kidney injuries within one year of patients starting the drug.” The data “were reported by Dr. Matthew Weir (University of Western Ontario, London) and colleagues in a research letter published April 12, 2011 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.”