Drug regulatory agencies are
warning the public not to buy medicines from unregulated websites after discovering
counterfeit Alli diet pills were being sold online.
Both the United Kingdom’s Medicines
and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the United States’ Food and Drug
Administration warned consumers this week of the dangers of buying medicines online.
The Cayman Islands Health Services
Authority’s Medical Officer of Health Kiran Kumar said there was no indication
that the counterfeit diet pills had been purchased in Cayman, but said he
wanted to draw the public’s attention to the issue.
The counterfeit pill is being sold
in the form of 60 mg capsules in a 120 count refill pack.
The real drug, manufactured by
GlaxoSmithKline, is available over the counter and contains the active
Laboratory testing of the suspected counterfeit Alli capsules
revealed they contained sibutramine instead of orlistat.
licence for sibutramine was recommended for suspension across Europe last week
by the European Medicines Agency following evidence to suggest an increased
risk of non-fatal heart attacks and strokes.
is also known by the brand name, Meridia, a prescription weight loss drug that
is a controlled substance.
and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency Head of Enforcement Mick Deats said
purchasing medicines from unregulated internet pharmacies is a risk not worth
weight loss medication from unregulated websites is a dangerous way to slim
down. You don’t know what you’re taking and your condition is not being
monitored by a healthcare professional. It’s just not worth taking that type of
risk,” Mr. Deats said.
counterfeit Alli can be distinguished from the genuine product by the absence
of a lot code on the end flap of the outer packaging and a plain foil
inner safety seal under the plastic cap, without any printed words – the
authentic product seal is marked ‘sealed for your protection’.
counterfeit capsules also contain white powder instead of small white pellets.