ARTICLE
8 February 2024

Global Surge In Counterfeit Weight Loss Drugs Sparks Public Health Concerns

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People around the world have been considering Ozempic as an effective drug for achieving weight loss.
Lebanon Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences
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Lebanon: Global surge in counterfeit weight loss drugs sparks public health concerns1

People around the world have been considering Ozempic as an effective drug for achieving weight loss. After successful popularity over the period, this drug has gained great demand along with other weight loss drugs such as Wegovy and Mounjaro.

With success comes the challenge of facing counterfeit supply under the successful brand.

Eleven people have been reported to suffer from dangerously low levels of blood sugar (hypoglycemia) due to the use of suspected fake versions of Novo Nordisk's (NOVOb.CO) diabetes drug Ozempic in Lebanon this year. Upon investigations, it was revealed that three of the people who took the suspected fake Ozempic did so to control their diabetes, while four took it for weight management. The other four injected the drug for an 'unspecified indication.'

Hypoglycemia is a possible side effect of the drug if it is taken alongside others that lower blood sugar, such as insulin. Public health officials in Lebanon said the doses taken by the patients were different from the doses contained in legitimate Ozempic pens.

The spokesperson of the manufacturer Novo Nordisk said the company was aware of counterfeit drugs in the supply chain in Lebanon and the Middle East, and that they were underway in investigations to monitor the illegal sale of counterfeit products so as to identify the original source of the counterfeit products, for the necessary action.

Counterfeit Ozempic has already been found in at least 17 countries, including the UK, Germany, Egypt, and Russia.

Footnote

1. Suspected fake Ozempic causes hypoglycemia in 11 in Lebanon (arabnews.com) (2023.11.28)

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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