US: How to Spot Fake Ozempic

Key Takeaways

  • The FDA seized thousands of fake units of Ozempic last year.
  • Counterfeit Ozempic has been linked to several cases of hypoglycemia.

Suspected counterfeit Ozempic has been linked to three cases of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), according to a Reuters report.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seized thousands of fake units of Ozempic that were circulating in the legitimate U.S. supply chain, but the agency warned that counterfeit products could still be available on the market.

If you get your medications from major retailers like CVS and Rite Aid, you’re unlikely to get counterfeit Ozempic because they have licensed pharmacists on-site, according to Jamie K. Alan, RPh, PharmD, PhD, an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University.

However, online retailers that provide medications without prescriptions and compounding pharmacies are the sources medical experts are most concerned about.1

The FDA is encouraging patients and healthcare providers to double-check Ozempic boxes and avoid using products with lot number NAR0074 and serial number 430834149057.2

The FDA and Novo Nordisk, the company that manufactures Ozempic and Wegovy, shared images comparing counterfeit and real medications to help patients recognize authentic products.

A genuine Ozempic pen does not extend in length when you try to set the dose with the dial. Fake Ozempic boxes might have spelling errors, and the batch number on the box may not match the product strength stated on the same box and pen. The label on a counterfeit pen could also have poorer quality, and it may not stick well to the pen.

Fake needles were also found in some of the samples seized by the FDA. These needles may not be sterile, which increases the risk of infection.

real vs. fake ozempic needle
Food and Drug Administration

“It’s never wrong to ask your prescribing physician or practitioner, ‘Is this going to be the actual medication and the right concentrations?’ even if someone is sending it to a large retail pharmacy, I think that’s a very valid question,” said Michael C. Garcia, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of clinical nutrition at UCLA Health.

A Novo Nordisk spokesperson told Verywell that the company has filed 12 legal actions against medical spas, weight loss or medical clinics, and compounding pharmacies to “cease and desist from false advertising, trademark infringement, and unlawful sales of non-FDA approved compounded products claiming to contain semaglutide.”

Compounded drugs sometimes contain different amounts of the active ingredient than the traditional version. Semaglutide is the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, but compounded versions have been found to contain semaglutide sodium, semaglutide acetate, and “unknown impurities.”3

Salt forms of semaglutide are not currently approved for human use, so the side effects of using semaglutide sodium or semaglutide acetate are unknown, according to Alan.

“If you think you have a fake, go ahead and stop that medication and connect with your healthcare provider. Hopefully, between them and your pharmacist, you will be able to get some sort of authentic product,” Alan said.

What This Means For You

Although the FDA has seized thousands of fake units of Ozempic, they could still be circulating on the market. Make sure you’re getting your prescriptions from an authorized pharmacy or retailer. So far, no counterfeit Wegovy pen has been reported yet.


By Stephanie Brown – verywell health News

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