The US Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday that it's seized "thousands of units" of counterfeit versions of the type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic from the US drug supply chain, and it's urging suppliers, pharmacies and patients to use caution. Five people have gotten sick in connection with the products, but none of the cases has been serious, the FDA said.
The FDA warns pharmacies, health care systems, wholesalers and patients to double-check their semaglutide products to make sure they are the real thing. One-milligram injectable Ozempic products with the lot number NAR0074 and serial number 430834149057 on the box should not be used.
The agency and drugmaker Novo Nordisk are testing the fakes to determine whether they're dangerous and to identify what the substance is. The pen label, carton, information for patients and health care professionals, and needles that come with the injectors are also counterfeit, the FDA said. The needles' sterility can't be confirmed, so using them could lead to infection.
The FDA reminded patients to get their medication only through state-licensed pharmacies with a valid prescription.
Ozempic has been in shortage since a boom in popularity among celebrities who used it to lose weight. Since the popularity of Ozempic and its sister medication for weight loss, Wegovy, have grown, there have been reports of people selling knockoff versions at salons and through social media.
Separately, the FDA has also been sending letters to online sellers warning them to stop selling knockoffs. Novo Nordisk has sued to keep medical spas, medical clinics and weight loss clinics from selling fake versions.
The FDA said it is working with other federal agencies and Novo Nordisk to remove additional counterfeit semaglutide injectable products.
Consumers can call Novo Nordisk at 1-800-727-6500 if they have questions or find fake products. People can also report the counterfeit products to their local FDA consumer complaint coordinator or on the FDA's website.
Correction: This story has been updated to properly reflect the amount of counterfeit Ozempic seized.
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