Many product recalls are precipitated by a defect found in the product, either by the manufacturer or consumers. Sometimes, however, products are tampered with somewhere in the supply chain or even once they're on the shelves of a store. That's the case with a well-known weight loss drug. Alli, which contains a low dose of the prescription drug Xenical, has been around since just 2007.
The manufacturer of Alli, which is sold over the counter without a prescription, has announced a recall of all bottles in the United States as well as Puerto Rico. According to GlaxoSmithKline, consumers in seven different states, including Florida, have found a variety of other capsules and tablets in approximately 20 different bottles of Alli. The British company says that some of the bottles had phony safety seals and some outer boxes were missing their labels.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with GSK to get the product off of shelves. The manufacturer is also asking anyone who has Alli at home to return the bottles to the company for inspection. So far, the source of the tampering has not been found. A company spokesman says they "don't have any theories at this point."
Fortunately, no one has reported becoming seriously ill as a result of the tampering. It appears that the company has taken quick action to deal with the issue. When a manufacturer takes immediate public action in cases of product defects, particularly potentially dangerous drugs, they can help prevent harm, injury or worse.
Manufacturers of all types of products have also learned that failing to act promptly to report and fix a problem can lead to costly litigation. Personal injury suits have helped incentivize many companies to do everything in their power to guarantee the safety of their products.
Source: Reuters, "GSK recalls weight-loss drug Alli in U.S. on tampering concerns" Ben Hirschler, Mar. 27, 2014