Beware of Fake Alli; How to spot a fake? how to identify a fake orlistat

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FDA has released a press statement with the warning regarding fake version of GlaxoKlineSmith's weight loss product Alli.  The fake seems to replace the key ingredient orlistat with controlled substance sibutramine. Sibutramine is a drug that should not be used in certain patient populations or without physician oversight.  Sibutramine can also interact in a harmful way with other medications the consumer may be taking.

Beware of Fake Alli; How to spot a fake?

How to spot a fake Alli?

The counterfeit Alli product looks similar to the authentic product, with a few notable differences. The counterfeit Alli has:

  • Outer cardboard packaging missing a “Lot” code;
  • Expiration date that includes the month, day, and year (e.g., 06162010); authentic Alli expiration date includes only the month and year (e.g.,: 05/12);
  • Packaging in a plastic bottle that has a slightly taller and wider cap with coarser ribbing than the genuine product;
  • Plain foil inner safety seal under the plastic cap without any printed words; the authentic product seal is printed with “SEALED for YOUR PROTECTION”;
  • Contains larger capsules with a white powder, instead of small white pellets.


Pictures of counterfeit Alli samples provided by GSK are shown below.

Alli fraud picture of bottle

Alli fraud pills inside

Alli fraud sample pack


Consumers who believe they have received counterfeit Alli are asked to contact the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) by calling 800-551-3989 or by visiting the OCI Web site ( 


Please watch out for the fake drug because it can be harmful for your body.


Comments have been disabled for this article

Comment by
Vickie Hearne
January 19, 2010 at 14:19

I’ve just been in contact with Glaxo w/ re: Fake alli I purchased on-line via Amazon. The Fakes came from Mike at Storeshark and Toby at Byrdlabs. Storeshark is an on-line toy store (!!), and Byrdlabs has no street address or phone number. Both contend that neither knew you were selling fake drugs. However, they did not purchase this product from Glaxo Smith Klein; therefore, they knew this product was not from the legitimate manufacturer. They also used the legitimacy of Amazon to perpetrate this fraud. When I contacted them, both said they were “pulling” their offerings. Neither offered to do anything else (like report who “sold” it to them or notify their customers)

I’ve spoken w/ Glaxo this AM, and will be providing them my Alli for analysis. The lot/expiration on my bottle(s) is

11648 10/11

The rep indicated they have received other fakes with this lot/expiration. The powder contents were determined to be Meridia.

Unfortunately, I’ve experiened some serious side effects, including a bad rash. My dermo thought I might have some type of liver disease!

Amazon doesn’t seem to care – they regard this as little more than a simple refund.

I’m willing to prosecute -

Comment by
January 19, 2010 at 15:39

Vickie, it is incredibly surprising to hear that you purchased it on Amazon.  While I am not a big fan of Amazon, I have always held them in higher regards than that.  Have you spoken to a lawyer?  If you have felt any ill effects, it shouldn't be difficult to find someone to take up your case for free.

Comment by
January 19, 2010 at 15:42

Amazon is not the same anymore!

Amazon doesn't seem to have any control on third party vendors which come to sell products on their website. I am sure that they have a huge disclaimer to every product sold by a third party.

I normally look for products that are sold by, else I don't buy them. Even with products, I have had problems esp. with their horrible customer service.

Has anyone else had the same problem?

Comment by
February 7, 2011 at 10:14

I bought some alli the safty  seal was plain so i opened a pill and it wasn't powder. so is it fake or real?

Comment by
February 14, 2011 at 12:35

the Alli I has a plain seal on the top, the tables are filled with white pellets.   How can I tell if this is counterfeit or the real thing ?

Comment by
February 14, 2011 at 14:35

Jane and Barb, the only way to truly know if your drugs are real or fake is to do a chemical analysis ... which would cost more than the drugs themselves in many cases. I would recommend you to avoid purchasing the drugs from dubious sources, such as the internet. While your local pharmacy is likely substiatialy more expensive, especially if uninsured, you are at least guaranteed that you will get what you pay for (at least, for the most part). 

Maybe it would be a good idea for you to bring your drugs to the pharmacist and ask them directly. They would be much better at identifying a fake than any internet forum.

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