WHO issues warning about fake weight loss and diabetes drugs

The WHO issued a warning about fake weight loss and diabetes drugs in the UK. File photo.

Fake weight loss and diabetes drugs have been detected in the UK and around the globe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned.

The WHO issued an alert on false semaglutides, the type of medicines that are used for treatment of type two diabetes and obesity in some countries.

Three fake batches branded under Ozempic were detected in the UK in October 2023, Brazil in October 2023 and the United States in December 2023.

The drugs, including the specific brand product that has been falsified, are prescribed to people with type two diabetes in order to lower their blood sugar levels.

The counterfeit drugs could have harmful effects to people’s health and if the products don’t have the necessary raw components, falsified medicines can lead to health complications, the agency warned.

world health organisation, brazil, diabetes, weight loss, who issues warning about fake weight loss and diabetes drugs
Three fake batches branded under Ozempic were detected in the UK in October 2023, Brazil in October 2023 and the United States in December 2023 (PA Wire)

The WHO urged patients using the counterfeit products to buy prescriptions from licenced pharmacies and to avoid purchasing similar products from unverified sources and online.

Dr Yukiko Nakatani, WHO Assistant Director-General for Essential Medicines and Health Products, said: “WHO advises healthcare professionals, regulatory authorities and the public be aware of these falsified batches of medicines.

“We call on stakeholders to stop any usage of suspicious medicines and report to relevant authorities”.

Ozempic can only be prescribed for patients with type two diabetes, and isn’t licensed as a weight loss drug in the UK or the US.

However, the British government acknowledges: “It is not authorised for weight-loss, but it is used off-label for that purpose.”

This is a breaking news story. More to follow...

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