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Popular weight-loss drugs being sold fraudulently, investigators say

Popular weight-loss medicines have been hard to find at times, creating an opportunity for fraudsters to sell counterfeit drugs.
Popular weight-loss drugs being sold fraudulently, investigators say
Posted at 2:59 PM, Oct 06, 2023

The Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC) issued an alert on Wednesday suggesting that popular weight-loss drugs such as Ozempic are being sold fraudulently. 

The PCSC said that there have been several cases of wholesalers being offered Ozempic at large wholesale discounts. In some cases, the products never arrive, but in other cases, the drugs are either being diverted from foreign countries, or they are counterfeit. 

"In some of the transactions currently under investigation, it is suspected that the sellers are involved in account takeover, in which they obtain the licensing, management, and location information from licensed wholesalers and pretend to be employees of such companies. This information is easily accessible online," the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition said.

In addition to Ozempic, investigators are also looking into the sale of other semaglutide drug products.

The PCSC also said that the illicit activity has been detected at the pharmacy and distributor level. 

SEE MORE: Weight-loss drugs linked to stomach paralysis, study finds

The new guidance comes after a notice was sent in June warning that off-brand versions of weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy were being sold online. 

These drugs were initially prescribed to help manage Type 2 diabetes but have since gained popularity to help patients manage weight. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, these drugs help manage blood sugar levels by triggering insulin release from the pancreas. The drugs also help to slow digestion, which causes less glucose to enter the bloodstream. The medicine also affects satiety, allowing patients to feel full after eating, the Cleveland Clinic said. 

Because of their effect on weight loss, they have become popular and sometimes hard to find. 

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