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Tampered Bottles of Alli Found Across US

GlaxoSmithKline  is alerting consumers that some bottles of Alli have been tampered with. The pharmaceutical company has initiated an investigation in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration.

Some American consumers found the wrong drug when they opened their packages of Alli, the weight loss pill manufactured by GSK.  The tampered packages have so far popped up in seven states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina and Texas.

Alli is approved to use without a prescription for overweight adults, in conjunction with a low-fat diet. The main ingredient is orlistat, which works by preventing the absorption of fat in the body.

The counterfeit drug may be packaged with authentic-looking labels on the outside, but inside could contain a variety of tablets and capsules, the company said in a release. Alli weight loss medication only comes in the turquoise blue capsule with a dark blue band.

Also, the lot numbers and expiration dates on the bottle do not match the lot number and expiration date on the outer carton.

A GSK spokeswoman, Deborah Golding, told FiercePharmaManufacturing, “a range of products have been described to us and we do not yet know for sure what some of these materials are since it is still early in our investigation and we are still receiving product from consumers.”

This isn’t the first time that Alli has been tampered with. In 2010, the FDA issued a warning that counterfeit versions of the 60 milligram capsules (120 count refill pack) were being sold over the Internet through online auction sites. Those counterfeit pills had the main ingredient sibutramine, a stimulant that is also used in some weight loss medications. However, the amount of sibutramine found in the fake pills could lead consumers to take twice the amount of the maximum dosage if they were following the instructions on the Alli bottle. That could lead to side effects such as anxiety, heart palpitations, and tachycardia (a racing heart).

There is no word whether any consumers have taken the suspicious pills, or have become ill from taking pills from the tampered bottles. GSK has not issued a recall.

Picture courtesy of the FDA website.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, and visit her website at

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