Manufacturers Struggle to Keep Up with Demand
The popularity of weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Rybelsus, Wegovy, and Mounjaro has skyrocketed thanks to social media. However, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the demand, leading to limited availability and potential supply issues. Novo Nordisk, the company behind Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus, has intentionally cut back on production of Wegovy to ensure that those already using the drug can continue to receive their injections.
Questionable Versions of Drugs Flood the Market
As demand for weight loss drugs continues to rise, counterfeit versions are making their way into the hands of desperate patients. Online sellers are taking advantage of the situation by selling knockoffs of Wegovy that may not even contain the active ingredient. Novo Nordisk has taken legal action against medical spas, weight loss clinics, and compounding pharmacies in the U.S. that are allegedly selling unapproved versions of their drugs.
Compounding Pharmacies in the Gray Area
Compounding pharmacies, which create customized versions of drugs, are operating in a gray area when it comes to weight loss medications. While they are licensed and regulated by state boards, they do not need authorization from the FDA to produce these drugs. However, the FDA has raised concerns about the use of salt forms of semaglutide in compounded versions of Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus.
Patients Left to Vet Compounding Pharmacies
Patient safety is a concern when it comes to compounded drugs. While most versions are legitimate copies, patients are responsible for ensuring the safety and quality of the product they are purchasing. Compounding pharmacies are not required to proactively report testing results to state boards, so oversight varies from state to state. Patients are advised to ask for independent lab testing results and consult reputable resources when choosing a compounding pharmacy.
Illegitimate Online Retailers Add to the Problem
Illegitimate online retailers are also selling counterfeit weight loss drugs, often without requiring a prescription. Patients are urged to consult legitimate sources and be cautious of warning signs such as promises of fast delivery and unusually low prices. The FDA recommends using resources like BeSafeRx and seeking referrals from prescribers to find legitimate compounding pharmacies.
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