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Fake Ozempic Injections Pose Health Risk, Warns WHO

June 22, 2024
Fake Ozempic Injections

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a global alert regarding counterfeit versions of Ozempic, a medication that’s become popular for weight loss despite being a treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Nicknamed the “skinny jab,” Ozempic utilizes semaglutide, an ingredient that helps regulate blood sugar in diabetics. However, it also suppresses appetite, leading some without diabetes to seek it out for weight management.

This surge in demand has resulted in shortages for diabetics and a dangerous black market for fake Ozempic. The WHO reports tracking counterfeit versions of the drug since 2022, with authorities in the UK, US, and Brazil seizing these illegal products.

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“Falsified batches of medicines” pose a significant health risk, warns Dr. Yukiko Nakatani, WHO Assistant Director-General. These fakes may lack semaglutide entirely or contain other medications like insulin, leading to unpredictable and potentially harmful effects.

The WHO urges healthcare professionals, regulators, and the public to be vigilant against these counterfeits. They recommend obtaining Ozempic only through reputable sources, such as doctors, and avoiding obscure online sites or social media vendors.

The UK’s drug regulatory body previously seized a batch of fake Ozempic that appeared genuine, highlighting the sophistication of these counterfeits. Dr. Alison Cave, the organization’s chief safety officer, emphasizes the dangers of acquiring semaglutide through illegal means, stating it “may put your health at risk.”

For weight loss needs, Wegovy, a higher-dose version of Ozempic, is a safer alternative. Wegovy is available at specific weight-loss clinics within the UK’s National Health Service.

The WHO’s alert serves as a crucial reminder: prioritize your health and safety by obtaining medications only through legitimate channels.

Special report on BBC News.

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