Published on November 7, 2023, 1:09 am
Weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy have become increasingly popular, but there are growing concerns about counterfeit versions of these drugs flooding the market. Health officials are warning consumers to be extra cautious when filling their prescriptions.
Originally prescribed for type 2 diabetes, both Ozempic and Wegovy have gained popularity as weight loss drugs. The main ingredient in these drugs, semaglutide, helps suppress appetite and reduce feelings of hunger.
Nicole Morse, a 35-year-old from Nashville, has had a long journey with weight loss. She had tried various methods but found little success until her doctor prescribed her Wegovy. Since starting the medication in July, she has lost 18 pounds. Morse expressed her satisfaction with the drug, stating that it significantly reduces her appetite and makes her feel less hungry compared to other weight loss methods she tried before.
Projections suggest that over the next decade, approximately 7% of the US population (around 24 million people) could be taking these drugs. However, there is now a concern that counterfeit versions of Ozempic and Wegovy have entered the United States.
One of the reasons behind this issue is the drugs’ high demand combined with low supply. Ozempic and similar medications are currently listed on the FDA’s drug shortage list. This scarcity creates an opportunity for counterfeiters to flood the market with fake drugs.
Dr. Susan Spratt, an endocrinologist at Duke University, highlighted this concern and stated that when a drug is in short supply, individuals may see it as an opportunity to work the system by selling counterfeit versions. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has previously encountered similar problems with drugs like Viagra and ADHD medications.
The risks associated with purchasing counterfeit weight loss medication include uncertainty regarding its contents. These fake drugs could contain harmful substances such as fentanyl or other dangerous poisons like drywall or antifreeze that pose serious health risks to consumers. Al Carter, the executive director for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, emphasized the dangers and urged caution.
The most effective way for consumers to protect themselves is to avoid purchasing Ozempic or similar medications online altogether. If they do choose to order online, it is recommended to use legitimate websites like safe.pharmacy.com, which can verify the authenticity of a given seller.
Medical professionals also advise individuals to see their healthcare providers and obtain proper prescriptions for drugs like Ozempic. It is essential to use reputable pharmacies when purchasing these medications. Diana Isaacs, an endocrine clinical pharmacist at Cleveland Clinic, advises looking for red flags such as foreign writing or differences in color and shape of the drugs. Manufacturers’ websites typically provide images of what the genuine product should look like, serving as another resource to ensure authenticity.
Overall, with the increasing popularity of weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, consumers must exercise extreme caution to avoid falling victim to counterfeit medications. By staying informed about potential risks and following guidelines from healthcare professionals and reputable sources, individuals can protect their health and well-being while achieving their weight loss goals.