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Ozempic CEO fighting back against FAKES!

Novo Nordisk's CEO announced on Friday that the company is teaming up with authorities in various countries to fight against counterfeit versions of its popular diabetes medicine, Ozempic. Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, the CEO of the Danish pharmaceutical company, stressed the seriousness of the situation in an interview with Reuters.

According to reports, there's a growing concern about fake Ozempic causing harm to patients across the globe. Novo Nordisk has been actively testing suspicious products and cooperating with authorities in countries where counterfeit drugs are discovered to aid in legal actions against counterfeiters. Jorgensen emphasized that they cannot combat this issue alone and rely on collaboration with law enforcement.

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Fight Against Fake Ozempic

The demand for Novo's drugs, particularly those promoting weight loss like semaglutide, is soaring, surpassing the available supply. This shortage has led to worries about unregulated and counterfeit medicines. As per the Partnership for Safe Medicines, counterfeit Ozempic has been identified in up to 16 countries so far.

Recent reports obtained by Reuters through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests revealed instances of patients being harmed after consuming fake Ozempic in countries such as Belgium, Iraq, Serbia, and Switzerland last year. While Ozempic is approved for diabetes treatment, it contains the same active ingredient as Novo's potent weight-loss drug, Wegovy, leading to its off-label use for weight loss.

The World Health Organization has linked global shortages of these drugs to an increase in suspected counterfeit reports. Last week, Robert Califf, the head of the U.S. FDA, suggested that there may be more cases of online sales of counterfeit obesity drugs than reported.

Reports submitted by Novo to the FDA indicated instances where people experienced dangerous drops in blood sugar after taking suspected or confirmed fake versions of the drug. These reports, along with previously confirmed cases, highlight the severity of the issue.

One report detailed a woman in Belgium who suffered a seizure and slipped into a diabetic coma after using suspected fake Ozempic for weight loss. Another report from Iraq mentioned a suspected fake injector pen that was potentially relabeled from a different insulin product.

Jorgensen also expressed concerns about compounded semaglutide in the U.S., noting that the active pharmaceutical ingredients for these products were originating from unregulated facilities in Asia and elsewhere. Compounded drugs, although based on the same ingredients as branded ones, lack regulation and oversight, posing additional risks to consumers.

Reports obtained through FOIA requests revealed cases of adverse effects, including one fatality, linked to compounded semaglutide. These incidents underscore the importance of addressing counterfeit and compounded drugs to ensure public safety.

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