Health Authorities Warn of Fake Ozempic

Thousands of counterfeit units of the popular drug Ozempic were recently seized by the FDA. Bogus versions were made of the popular diabetes drug (that’s often prescribed off-label for weight loss) in at least 16 countries, including the United States.

The FDA is working with drugmaker Novo Nordisk to test the counterfeit drugs to find out what’s in them. It has already been determined that the needles that came with the seized injectable medication are counterfeit and may not be sterile. Labeling, packaging, and prescription information that’s given to patients and doctors were also falsified.

As of now, the FDA says no one has been seriously hurt by the counterfeit medications. However, while they’ve discovered five adverse events related to the fake products, they’re all consistent with the known side effects of real Ozempic. This includes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

In October, fake versions of Ozempic were also found at wholesalers in the European Union and the United Kingdom, according to the European Medicines Agency. The fake pens were labeled in German and detected when the serial numbers on the packages were scanned.

The nonprofit coalition of supply chain producers and distributors, The Partnership for Safe Medicines, has been tracking cases of counterfeit Ozempic and other weight-loss drugs around the world. The counterfeit products aren’t identical, but they’re close enough to trick people.

The FDA has warned that Ozempic products with lot number NAR0074 and serial number 430834149057 on the box are counterfeit products and should not be used. The notice also shows that the illegitimate products come with pen labels, cartons, fact sheets and needles that are also counterfeit. It’s unclear whether the needles are sterile, which means they might pose a risk for infection.

As the investigation continues, consumers can report suspect Ozempic packages by calling 800-332-1088 or by contacting a state complaint coordinator.

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