What do you think about alli? Take my poll.
I’ve talked a little about alli in general; I even did some math to figure out exactly how many calories alli will block – around 180 calories per day based on a 2300 cal/day diet and following GSK’s recommended maximum fat consumption. If someone can simply drink one less Mountain Dew a day and get the same benefits as taking alli without all the nasty side effects, why is GSK spending the money to bring alli to the market?
Alli will be marketed as a
weight-loss pill lifestyle-change pill. Broadcast advertisements for OTC drugs are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, as opposed to ads for prescription drugs, which are regulated by the FDA. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act:
- advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive;
- advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and
- advertisements cannot be unfair.
Because the FTC carries a less-onerous test for drug advertising, GSK will be able to make much craftier claims about the drug and have much more leeway than Roche had with Xenical. Specifically, there is no requirement for listing side effects, limitations in use and a balance between effectiveness/advertising and indications/side effects. Likely, we will soon begin seeing commercials that focus on losing 8lbs for every 5 you would normally lose. If they’re crafty enough, they’ll even create an emotion-based illusion that the alli pill inspires the lifestyle changes suggested by the myalli.com program without the hard work associated with making lifestyle changes. Effectively, they will market a lifestyle-change pill. Never mind the skidmarks.
GSK sells multivitamins. Since alli blocks fat, it will also block the body’s ingestion of fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E and K. If I were a marketing consultant at GSK (and surely they’ve already thought of this), I’d be putting this fact in all alli literature as a preemptive disclosure and use it to my advantage by selling multivitamins either stocked next to alli on the shelves or even boxed with alli as a “kit.” GSK already sells multivitamins in the US - Geritol already has A, D, E and K in the formula.
So, let’s do a little more math. We’ll take that unscientific MSNBC poll I mentioned before – 59% of 137,301 respondents are in favor of taking alli. Walgreens sells Geritol Complete for $5.00 per 40 pills. If just the 81,008 respondents polling favorably take alli along with Geritol Complete, that’s an additional $405,040.00 per month for GSK – and that’s just based on 137,301 respondents. I’m betting it won’t be long after alli’s release that GSK releases a specially-formulated multivitamin containing just the fat-soluble vitamins (and omega-3 for buzzword recognition), and I guarantee their profit margin will be higher on that pill. Using organic growth methods, GSK will double their consumer base using a complementary pill they already manufacture – no R&D cost, very little marketing cost, very high profit margin.
All in the name of Americans refusing to eat one less hotdog a day.