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The FDA first approved Xenical in 1999 and alli in 2007. The prescription pill is twice as potent as alli, which can be bought over the counter. Glaxo reported $123 million in sales for alli last year, while Roche posted $472 million in revenue for Xenical.
In general, the FDA has started notifying the public earlier about possible safety issues with drugs, after coming under fire for acting too slowly on problems with blockbuster treatments like Merck's painkiller Vioxx.
Shares of London-based Glaxo fell 59 cents Monday to close at $39.44.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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