Two Food and Drug Administration panels are voting later today on whether a prescription weight-loss drug should be as easy to buy as aspirin.
GlaxoSmithKline wants to sell an over-the-counter version of the fat-blocking prescription drug Xenical. When taken with meals, the drug blocks the absorption of about one-quarter of fat consumed.
A company official says the drug is "no magic pill." He says weight loss in obese users is gradual and modest.
F-D-A reviewers are concerned that over-the-counter use of the drug could lead to vitamin deficiencies and encourage abuse.