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Fake Ozempic and Mounjaro Pens Sending People to Hospitals

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a major health issue, affecting more than 6% of people over the age of 15 worldwide. In developed countries like the United States, the condition is even more common. According to the CDC, 14.7% of American adults have type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of developing this disease. For these reasons, people are doing and buying everything they can to lose weight. This includes purchasing fake Ozempic and Mounjaro pens, which are sending people to hospitals. 

This situation highlights the urgent need for awareness and caution when it comes to these vital medications. In this blog, we’ll look into the reasons why people are taking and buying fake medications and how it is impacting their lives. With this, we will also discuss how to recognize counterfeit GLP-1 drugs and how to avoid fake Ozempic.

Effective Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes and the Rise of Fake GLP-1 drugs

An effective treatment for type 2 diabetes is using glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, or GLP-1 agonists, to control blood sugar levels. These medications, or how Ozempic works, is by stimulating insulin production, reducing appetite, delaying stomach emptying, and stopping the production of glucagon, the hormone that raises blood sugar.

Most people using GLP-1 agonists experience weight loss. Losing more than 15% of body weight can significantly improve type 2 diabetes. Two popular GLP-1 agonists are semaglutide and liraglutide. In the U.S., semaglutide is sold as Wegovy for weight management, while in the U.K., it’s known as Ozempic for diabetes treatment. Liraglutide is marketed as Saxenda for weight management in both the U.S. and U.K.

In the U.S., Wegovy can be prescribed for people with obesity or a BMI over 27 with a weight-related condition. In the U.K., Saxenda can be prescribed along with diet and exercise, but Ozempic is only for diabetes treatment. However, the high demand for these drugs as weight-loss treatments has led to the emergence of fake versions in many countries. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned consumers against buying these counterfeit products, as they are dangerous.

Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, a Public Health Professor at New Mexico State University, explains that the high demand and the belief in miraculous results have led to the rise of fake medications. He reassures those with legitimate prescriptions: “For individuals who consult a healthcare provider about needing Ozempic, the chances of getting a counterfeit product are meager. Counterfeiters often target those who seek the product without consulting a healthcare professional or without a legitimate prescription.”

Demand for Weight-Loss Drugs Fuels Global Rise in Counterfeits

Since January, the MHRA has already seized 369 fake Ozempic pens potentially & even received reports of Saxenda pens that are fake in the U.K. In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA is investigating reports of counterfeit versions of these drugs being sold in pharmacies.

Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic, has warned consumers to be vigilant. They advise checking the packaging and pen for authenticity after discovering counterfeit products in a U.S. pharmacy. They also caution that medications bought online or from unlicensed sources might be fake, contaminated, improperly stored, ineffective, or unsafe. Always ensure your medication comes from a reliable and licensed source.

What Are the Side Effects of Fake GLP-1 Products?

The U.K.’s MHRA has highlighted the dangers of using counterfeit GLP-1 pens. They reported that serious side effects Ozempic (fake ones), such as hypoglycemic shock and coma, have been observed in hospitalized patients, indicating that the counterfeit pens may contain insulin instead of semaglutide. In Austria, several people were treated for severe side effects like seizures and low blood sugar after using fake pens, according to the BBC. The Austrian Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) warned that criminal organizations are exploiting the situation by creating counterfeit versions of these high-priced medications, posing serious health risks.

How to Spot Fake Ozempic and Other GLP-1 Products?

Dr. Khubchandani isn’t surprised that counterfeit products are appearing on the market, but he warns people not to fall for them. He emphasizes that consumers need to be vigilant and informed and further added, “No matter the efforts from law enforcement and regulatory agencies, I believe it’s up to consumers to educate themselves and consult healthcare professionals. It’s crucial to know if you really need a product like Ozempic, ensure your healthcare provider agrees, and verify that both you and your provider can find an authentic product. Being aware and cautious is key to avoiding counterfeit medications.”

“Unless consumers play an active role, counterfeit medications like [V]iagra and Ozempic will continue to reach people. Also, trying to bypass rules and acquire products without a prescription is never a good idea. You could be playing with fire by consuming such products without proper guidance,” he added.

Dr. Khubchandani advises that warning signs of counterfeit products include:

  • Missing National Drug Codes.
  • Different colors on boxes.
  • Poor quality labels.
  • Spelling mistakes on labels.
  • Errors on dose counters and buttons.

It may be tempting to buy weight-loss products online or over-the-counter, especially with all the publicity and shortages. However, the risks often outweigh the benefits. There are many other ways to lose weight safely, and your healthcare professional can recommend the best methods for you and your lifestyle. For those seeking alternatives, some may consider options to buy Ozempic from Canada, but always ensure it is through reputable sources.

Conclusion

The surge in demand for GLP-1 medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro for weight loss has unfortunately led to the rise of dangerous counterfeit products. These fake medications pose serious health risks, including hypoglycemic shock and seizures, and have sent people to hospitals. Buying medications only from licensed and trusted sources is crucial to ensure safety. Consumers must remain vigilant and consult healthcare professionals to verify the authenticity of their medications. 

Signs of counterfeit products include different colors on boxes, spelling mistakes on labels, and errors on dose counters and buttons. Avoid the temptation to buy weight-loss products online or over-the-counter without a prescription, as the risks often outweigh the benefits. There are many safe and effective ways to manage weight loss, and healthcare professionals can provide the best guidance tailored to individual needs. By staying informed and cautious, consumers can protect their health and avoid the dangers of counterfeit medications. Always prioritize safety and authenticity when it comes to your health.

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