Now that Americans have had access to the first over-the-counter weight-loss drug for 18 months, we've become a lean, mean nation, right? Not so much, writes Debra Sherman for Reuters. It's true that Alli—$60 for a 30-day supply—gives users slightly better results, but they're probably not worth the cost and unfortunate gastro-intestinal side effects. "For most people, they're just looking for a shortcut instead of just eating better and exercising," one doctor said.
In fairness, maker Glaxo stresses that it's not a "miracle pill." But the "shortcut" aspect is appealing to an overweight nation, and the FDA is even worried it's being abused by people with eating disorders. As pharma giants work on improvements, expect Alli to stick around. "It's a smart drug more from a marketing standpoint than from a clinical efficacy standpoint," said one Mayo Clinic specialist. "This is a multibillion-dollar industry."