Fake Ozempic Circulating, WHO WARNS


The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a stark warning about the circulation of counterfeit Ozempic pens in Europe and the Americas. Ozempic, a medication primarily used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, has gained popularity due to its off-label use for weight loss, leading to a surge in demand and the subsequent emergence of fake versions.

According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), counterfeit Ozempic pens have been identified at various wholesalers in the European Union and the United Kingdom. These falsified products are suspected to originate from Germany and Austria and bear labels in German. The EMA has emphasized the potential health risks posed by these counterfeit products, which might contain unknown and potentially harmful substances​.

Health authorities in Austria and the UK have reported several cases of hospitalizations linked to the use of counterfeit Ozempic pens. Patients have experienced severe adverse effects, including hypoglycemia and seizures. In Austria, some of the counterfeit pens reportedly contained insulin instead of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic.

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confiscated 369 potentially fake Ozempic pens since January 2023 and is actively investigating the issue​ ​.

In response to these incidents, the MHRA has urged the public not to purchase pre-filled weight-loss pens online and to report any suspected counterfeit products to the authorities. The agency highlighted the risks associated with using these counterfeit medications, which can lead to life-threatening conditions such as hypoglycemic shock and coma​.

Similarly, the EMA has advised healthcare professionals and consumers to be vigilant and verify the authenticity of Ozempic pens. The agency underscored the importance of obtaining medications through legitimate pharmacies and ensuring that the products are sourced from authorized suppliers​​.

The issue is not confined to Europe alone. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also reported the presence of counterfeit Ozempic in the American drug supply chain. The FDA is conducting investigations and has advised healthcare providers and consumers to check the batch numbers and packaging details to avoid counterfeit products​ ​.

As the popularity of Ozempic continues to rise, the proliferation of counterfeit versions poses a significant challenge for regulators worldwide. The WHO's warning aims to raise awareness and prompt immediate action to protect public health. Consumers are urged to remain cautious and seek medical advice if they suspect they have used counterfeit medications​​.


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