Over The Counter Obesity Drug – More Expensive Than Prescription, And Will It Help?

January 30, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

An Editorial in this week’s Lancet discusses the European Union’s decision to allow the obesity drug orlistat to be sold over the counter (OTC). The drug is already available OTC in the USA and Australia. The Editorial says: “Better accessibility to orlistat may not necessarily be in the best interests of the public. Orlistat has limited effect in the management of obesity-the average weight loss per year is only 2•5 kg. Making this drug available OTC will add false credibility to the notion that there is an easy pill-popping solution to obesity rather than long-term lifestyle changes.” It adds: “OTC sales of orlistat will be much more expensive than through prescription only-roughly £1•47 (US$2) per day in England, for example, versus the £7•10 cost per monthly prescription.”

The Editorial concludes: “Lack of a comprehensive strategy, with subsequent monitoring, of OTC sales means that once a drug is approved to be sold, the effects on the public and individuals are not known. With a growing trend to approve OTC medicines for the self-management of chronic conditions, it is crucial that OTC use is better understood. Evidence is urgently needed to show that OTC decisions are made in the best interests of the public.”


Tony Kirby

Press Officer

The Lancet

32 Jamestown Road





[Via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com]


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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