Let me tell you about the latest scam courtesy of Big Pharma. There’s a new over-the-counter weight loss pill just approved by the FDA called Alli. It’s made by GlaxoSmithKline, which has reportedly earmarked $150 million for the ad campaign. Early reports are that it’s flying off the shelves.
So what’s the deal?
Alli is actually orlistat, which was marketed as Xenical. Xenical has been around for a while. It didn’t work very well. So they took it off prescription-only status and repackaged it as Alli.
This is not the first time the clever marketers at Big Pharma have done this. Not too long ago, Eli Lilly took Prozac, dressed it up in nice pink and purple colors and rechristened it Sarafem for PMS.
What do we know about Xenical? Well, it wasn’t terribly effective. A two-year European study showed that patients on Xenical lost between 2 percent and 3 percent more weight than those on a placebo. A second two-year European trial put obese patients on a reduced-calorie diet and gave them 120 mg of Xenical three times a day. At the end of the year they had lost about 9 pounds more than the placebo group. Read that carefully: 9 pounds a year, which translates to 3/4 pound a month. A similar study in the U.S. produced 1/2 pound per month of extra weight loss for Xenical users.
It also had some lovely side effects, which are politely called “leakage.”
So is Alli the answer? Hardly.
Unless of course you’re a stockholder in Glaxo.
[Ed. note: Dr. Bowden is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He's a board certified nutrition specialist with a Master's degree in psychology. Dr. Bowden is also a life coach, motivational speaker, former personal trainer and author of the award-winning book, Living the Low Carb Life. .]
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