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Watchdog group makes 2nd push to ban diet pill

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By MATTHEW PERRONE
AP Health Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the second time in five years, public health advocates are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban a fat-blocking drug sold over-the counter and via prescription, pointing to new reports of kidney stones and pancreatic damage.

Public Citizen filed a petition with the FDA Thursday calling on the agency to remove GlaxoSmithKline's Alli and Roche's Xenical from the market. Alli is sold over-the-counter while Xenical, a higher dose of the drug, is only available with a doctor's prescription.

Public Citizen says it identified 47 cases of acute pancreatitis and 73 kidney stones among patients taking the drugs. The reports were culled from the FDA's public database of negative drug reactions.

The drug works by blocking the absorption of about one-quarter of any fat consumed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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