FDA: Fake Ozempic being sold through legit sources

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has seized “thousands of units” of counterfeit Ozempic, a popular diabetes drug also used for weight loss. The fake 1 milligram semaglutide shots, distributed through legitimate drug supply sources, may still be for sale, according to the FDA.

The agency and the drug’s maker, Novo Nordisk, are testing the seized shots, but do not yet have information about the drugs’ identity, quality or safety. Five illnesses have been linked to the fake shots, but none have been serious, the FDA said Thursday.

The counterfeit drugs were labeled with the lot number NAR0074 and serial number 430834149057. In addition to the drug itself, the needles, pen labels, carton and accompanying Health care information are also counterfeit, the FDA said.

The agency advised retail pharmacies to buy authentic Ozempic only through authorized distributors and for patients to get it only through state-licensed pharmacies. Consumers can report suspect Ozempic packages by calling 800-332-1088 or by contacting a state complaint coordinator.

The news of fake Ozempic comes as legitimate doses are becoming harder to come by. The FDA says Ozempic has been in shortage due to an increase in demand since August 2022. Currently, doses of 0.25 mg/0.5 mg are in short supply.

Ozempic and similar drugs gained attention on social media in 2022 and have remained popular into 2023, with a viral trend touting their effectiveness for weight loss. This social media attention has been linked to the increase in demand for the drug.

The FDA’s advice to purchase authentic Ozempic only through authorized distributors and state-licensed pharmacies is crucial in ensuring the safety and efficacy of the drug for patients with type 2 diabetes.

For historic background, it’s important to note that counterfeit drugs have been a longstanding problem in the pharmaceutical industry, with the FDA continuously working to combat the distribution of fake medication. This recent seizure of counterfeit Ozempic highlights the ongoing need for vigilance in the supply and distribution of pharmaceutical products.

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