Ozempic weight-loss craze contributing to rise in counterfeit drugs

Diabetics face a drug shortage because those looking to shed pounds have entered the buyer's market and so have counterfeits.

The secret is out. Social media influencers and Hollywood have discovered that the Type 2 diabetes drug, Ozempic, can deliver fast results in the weight-loss department. 

Even companies like Weight Watchers are jumping on the trend by buying a telehealth service called Sequence that will connect patients with doctors who will prescribe a weight-loss drug like Ozempic.

But because of high demand, diabetics are having a hard time getting the drug. In addition, this is also contributing to a rise in counterfeit weight-loss drugs.

ozempic weight loss, thegrio.com
Many consumers have discovered that the Type 2 diabetes drug, Ozempic, can deliver fast results in the weight-loss department, leading to a shortage of the drug and an increase in counterfeits. (Vetta/Getty Images)

In an interview on “theGrio with Eboni K. Williams,” obesity medicine specialist Yolandra Hancock breaks down the possible dangers of not using the drug for its intended use. “Using the drug off-label can impact the long-term function of the pancreas,” she said.

Ozempic increases the amount of insulin that the pancreas releases. As a result, it can cause a momentary weight loss. However, once users stops taking it, they will gain the weight back.

Hancock noted another downside of using Ozempic for weight loss. “The indirect impact is that insurance companies will see this as a ‘vanity drug’ and will no longer be willing to cover it.”

Because the supply of Ozempic cannot keep up with the demand, there has been a rise in counterfeit drugs. Using them can result in dangerous outcomes, Hancock says. 

Consumers are urged to visit trusted health professionals instead of following the advice of social media influencers. 

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