The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has seized 369 potentially fake Ozempic weight loss injection pens in the UK since the start of the year.
It has been reported that a small number of Britons have been hospitalised due to complications believed to have resulted from weight loss pens, which were obtained through ‘non-legitimate routes’.
Dr Alison Cave, the MHRA's chief safety officer, said that buying such products without a prescription is likely to lead to a “direct danger to health”. She continued, “Serious side effects reported of those hospitalised, including hypoglycaemic shock and coma, indicate that the pens may contain insulin rather than semaglutide.”
The European Medicines Agency has announced that counterfeit Ozempic products have entered the market, with batch numbers, barcodes and unique serial numbers copied from genuine packaging. However, the products’ actual packaging may vary in colour, with fake pens sometimes having a clear rather than grey lid.
Former UK health minister Will Quince added, “No one should put profit before the needs of patients, but fraudsters selling black market medicines like this are extremely dangerous and can put people’s health at risk. The medical advice is clear: patients should only use medicines like Ozempic or Saxenda where they have been prescribed it by a legitimate source, such as their GP or another legitimate prescriber.”