FDA: Better skinny than slutty

Panel recommends OTC status for "controversial" emergency contraception -- no, sorry, diet pill.

Published January 25, 2006 2:06PM (EST)

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted to recommend approval of an over-the-counter version of a fat-blocking pill called orlistat (known as Xenical), whose potential side effects are indecorous at best. (Let's leave it at this: The panel chairman asked GlaxoSmithKline executives, "Have you considered placing a warning on the box, 'Don't take this product while wearing your new La Perla underwear?'")

Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, thank goodness the FDA hasn't lost its sense of humor -- I mean, what with that tiresome fuss over emergency contraception and all. Remember, the FDA, and by "FDA" I mean "Karl Rove," was evidently worried about holy hell breaking loose when the teens -- as Feministing put it -- "get their whorey little hands" on emergency contraception. "Several panel members said they were concerned about the potential for abuse [of Xenical], especially by teens," the Times reported, "as well as possible interactions with other drugs." HealthDay News added that some experts question the drug's long-term effectiveness and allege that the drug's manufacturers (Roche for the prescription version, GlaxoSmithKline for the OTC) are merely out to boost flagging sales. That didn't stop the panel from voting 11 to 3 in favor of making Xenical available OTC under the trade name Alli (thus sending the subliminal message that the drug will reduce your weight to that of Calista Flockhart).

We're not saying the drug should or shouldn't be approved; we're just saying the FDA's standards appear to be a little uneven.

"Ah, whatever," says Feministing. "Better unsafe than slutty."

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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