Europe: anti-obesity drug approved for OTC sale
The European Union approved an anti-obesity drug, orlistat, for sale over-the-counter (OTC) in January 2009. The drug is already available OTC in the USA and Australia. People with a body mass index over 28 can purchase the drug after consultation with a pharmacist. A Lancet editorial notes that "Pharmacists play an important part in the primary care team and increased accessibility of such medicines under their supervision is often a progressive step. However...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....Evidence is urgently needed to show that OTC decisions are made in the best interests of the public."
"Over-the-counter medicines: In whose best interests?"
Lancet 2009; 373: 354 (open access)
Date Posted: 30 January 2009