Xenical and its over-the-counter replica sold by GlaxoSmithKline are under strict scrutiny after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received 32 reports of serious liver damage in those taking the weight loss pills.
Six of these cases resulted in liver failure and over 20 were hospitalized due to severe injury sustained to their liver.
However, since no definite link has been established between the use of the drug and liver injury, the FDA has released a comment saying that those who are currently taking the pills should continue to do so as directed.
"The FDA's analysis of these data is ongoing, and no definite association between liver injury and Orlistat [which markets itself under Xenical and Alli] has been established at this time," the administration said.
The nonprescription version of Xenical sold in the United States is Alli. Alli is a popular brand, which built its credibility by heavily advertising that was the first FDA approved weight loss drug on the market.
Since the health concerns have risen, many asset management groups are concerned with what these alleged correlations between their drugs and the risks they are being linked to will do to their sales.
Mike Krensavage, principal of Krensavage Asset Management LLC said, “Any time the FDA raises an issue like this, demand is likely to suffer, at least temporarily.”
Krensavage seems to be right.
After making $197 million in profit overseas and another $125 million here on American soil so far in 2009, Glaxo shares have fell nearly 1.5 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.
Read the FDA report HERE.