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Safety review for obesity drug

The linkurl:US Food and Drug Administration;http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fda.gov%2F&ei=4_iTSozKI4nKlAeUkPnGAg&usg=AFQjCNEC-Qs0EIMQO8U_uagEsakq0iVJIg&sig2=UIOXgDn12FgqwiQKkj4lXg linkurl:announced yesterday;http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm180057.htm (August 24) that it was reviewing reports of liver injury -- including 6 cases of liver failure and 27 hospitalizations -- in patients taking the weight loss drug orlistat, mark

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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The linkurl:US Food and Drug Administration;http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fda.gov%2F&ei=4_iTSozKI4nKlAeUkPnGAg&usg=AFQjCNEC-Qs0EIMQO8U_uagEsakq0iVJIg&sig2=UIOXgDn12FgqwiQKkj4lXg linkurl:announced yesterday;http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm180057.htm (August 24) that it was reviewing reports of liver injury -- including 6 cases of liver failure and 27 hospitalizations -- in patients taking the weight loss drug orlistat, marketed by linkurl:GlaxoSmithKline;http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gsk.com%2F&ei=EfmTSuWbC4bDlAfQ0dilDA&usg=AFQjCNEulfO2BWlzMRoh1f47VF6FQlEbvA&sig2=GHCIX5IZlaoaNKzMs7S8Sg (GSK) and linkurl:Roche.;http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.roche.com%2F&ei=IfmTSpjCCpWGlAe8u8ypDA&usg=AFQjCNH62u2MN1Zin7KuxHBJmH6OfA6AoA&sig2=N37lvDTNz9wHBt_amOE0jQ
Image: Wikimedia commons
In 2007, GSK's formulation of orlistat, alli -- so named to sound connote an ally in weight loss -- became the first diet drug to be sold over-the-counter (OTC). GSK paid $100 million to purchase the licensing rights to orlistat from Switzerland-based manufacturer Roche, who developed and still markets the prescription version, Xenical. (The Scientist wrote about the deal and the lengthy process of turning orlistat into an OTC drug in a linkurl:feature article;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54717/ last year.) In 2008, its first full year as an OTC diet drug, alli's sales were estimated at $500 million, with future projections of $1 billion annually, according to...




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