Saturday, January 20, 2007

Xenical may switch back to POM in Oz

Roche’s weight-loss medicine Xenical (orlistat) could soon lose OTC status in Australia, just two years after its groundbreaking switch from prescription-only status.

The country’s National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC) will review orlistat’s status as a Schedule 3 or pharmacist-only medicine at its next meeting on 20-22 February, following a request from the committee’s chairperson.

Media coverage of an advertisement for Xenical during the television programme Australian Idol had prompted the NDPSC to discuss the weight-loss medicine at its previous meeting in October 2006.

Both orlistat’s inclusion in Appendix H, permitting the medicine to be advertised directly to consumers, and its scheduling as a pharmacist-only medicine were discussed during the October meeting.

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