GlaxoSmithKline pulls all U.S. alli supplies, launches product-tampering probe

What started Wednesday as product-flagging is now a full-on recall for GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), which says some packages of its weight-loss drug alli have been tampered with. The British pharma company is recalling supplies of the OTC capsule in light of reports from U.S. consumers who found the wrong drug when they opened their bottles.

On Thursday, GSK said it was conducting an investigation and working with the FDA to pull all alli bottles from the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In addition to posting a consumer alert to the drug's website, Glaxo has issued a release with information and photos to help consumers confirm their alli is the real thing.

"We are committed to finding out what happened and to doing everything possible to prevent future issues with alli," Colin Mackenzie, GSK's North American president of consumer healthcare, said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Glaxo appealed to consumers for help with its probe, asking customers who may have fakes on their hands to contact its customer relations line and hang onto the packaging materials for potential inspection. The tampered-with packages have so far surfaced in 7 states, containing a variety of tablets and capsules in a range of shapes and colors.

GSK is not the only victim of potential drug-tampering as of late. The wrong pills have turned up in packages from both Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) and Reckitt Benckiser in the past few years, with authorities suspecting a link between the Teva sabotage and a pair of deaths in France. And just this week, reports named a South Florida man accused last year of threatening to poison Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) products and smuggle them into 20 stores.

- read the release

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