Weight-Loss Pens Lead

Beware of Counterfeit Ozempic: Fake Weight-Loss Pens Lead to Serious Health Complications


Counterfeit trade has become a significant concern in the weight-loss drug industry, which is projected to reach a value of $100 billion by 2030. The popularity of injectable weight-loss drugs, coupled with a supply crisis, complex manufacturing process, high price, and absence of generic alternatives, has made these drugs a prime target for counterfeiters.

International authorities and pharmaceutical companies have recently issued warnings about counterfeit medicines after multiple individuals in Austria were hospitalized as a result of using fake Ozempic pens obtained from a doctor. These patients experienced severe health problems, including hypoglycemic shock and coma. The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) suspects that the counterfeit pens contained insulin instead of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic.

The MHRA has advised the public not to use any pre-filled weight-loss pens purchased online and to report any such products to them for investigation and necessary action. Since January 2023, the MHRA has seized 369 Ozempic pens suspected of being counterfeit. Prior to this year, there had been no reports of counterfeit Ozempic, but authorities anticipate an increase in illegal trade.

UK Health Minister Will Quince emphasized the importance of prioritizing patient needs over profit. He warned that fraudsters selling black market medicines pose a significant risk to people’s health and urged patients to only use medications like Ozempic or Saxenda if they have been prescribed by a legitimate source, such as a general practitioner or authorized prescriber.

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, belongs to the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist class of medicines. These drugs are primarily used for diabetes management but are increasingly being prescribed for weight loss. The two brands currently available on the market, Ozempic and Wegovy, are manufactured by Novo Nordisk in Denmark. However, global availability of these drugs has been limited throughout 2023. Novo Nordisk also produces liraglutide, another GLP-1 drug sold in the UK as Saxenda specifically for weight-loss treatment.

It is crucial for individuals to exercise caution and only obtain weight-loss medications from legitimate sources. Counterfeit drugs not only contribute to illegal activities but also endanger the health and well-being of patients. Authorities, including the MHRA, are actively working to crack down on illegal online suppliers to protect patients from such risks.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it