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Serious health warning over prescription weight-loss drug Ozempic being sold second-hand on Facebook

Man holding counterfeit weight loss injection bought on Facebook

The weight loss drug, Ozempic®, has recently hit the headlines as ‘Inews’ found that the drug is being sold second-hand over Facebook, for half the price. Drugs such as Ozempic, Saxenda® and Wegovy® are only available in the UK legally with a prescription. 

However, many weight loss groups are openly selling these drugs via social media platforms such as Facebook, exploiting its recent surge in popularity due to celebrity endorsement from the likes of Elon Musk, Jeremy Clarkson and Chelsea Handler.  

Now of course if asked ‘would you buy second-hand prescription medicine from a Facebook group for half the price?’ The answer for the large majority of us is no. However, a rise in popularity has led to a global shortage of the drug which these online groups have illegally exploited. 

In this blog, we explore what Ozempic is, how it works in the body and the importance of working with a clinical specialist to obtain your Ozempic prescription.


What is Ozempic?

Ozempic, a brand name for semaglutide, is a type 2 diabetes medication. However, many people are using this drug as a treatment for weight loss. Although the drug is only approved for the management of diabetes, it can also be prescribed off-label to help with weight loss.  

The drug was first approved for chronic weight management in adults who were overweight with at least one weight-related condition, including high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.


How does it work?

As previously mentioned, the active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide, which works by inducing satiety or the feeling of being ‘full’ thus suppressing appetite and helping with weight loss. 

Semaglutide also helps the pancreas to produce insulin, which is how it helps manage type 2 diabetes. Our body needs insulin to move the glucose (or blood sugar) we get from food inside cells, so we can use it as energy. 

Semaglutide works by mimicking the role of  GLP-1 (glucagon like peptide-1) a natural hormone produced in response to detecting nutrients when we eat. GLP-1 is part of the signalling pathway that tells your body you have eaten and therefore prepare it to use the energy that comes from your food. 


Risks of buying Ozempic on social media

Under Facebook Meta’s Restricted goods and services policy, ‘We prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers and retailers to purchase, sell, raffle, gift, transfer or trade certain goods and services on our platform. We do not tolerate the exchange or sale of any drugs that may result in substance abuse’. 

Inews reports that sold privately, a four-pack of semaglutide injections is available for as much as £179.99, but black market sellers are advertising them from between £70 and £135.  

According to www.diabetes.org.uk, ‘A prescription for Ozempic should only be administered following an assessment by your healthcare team to make sure that you benefit from its use. This will depend on your personal circumstances, and there are several important factors that need considering’.

In the UK, all medicines are subject to licence, with only a small group of drugs being considered safe and sufficiently free of side-effects to be sold over the counter. All other drugs are only available to patients on an individual basis and have to be prescribed by a registered practitioner, usually a doctor. This hasn’t occurred by chance, it is a system designed to be safe and prevent patients from coming to harm. Consequently skipping this process, self-prescribing and buying drugs second hand over the internet could be harmful to an individuals health.
Not only that in the UK, we are used to drugs being manufactured to exacting, safe standards such that we can take prescribed medicines without concern. This isn’t the case in other areas of the world, where drugs may not be made to the same EU and UK standards and maybe fake; criminals will do anything for money including making counterfeit medicines. How do you know what is in the syringe, is what it says it is in the packet?


Streamline’s weight management programme

It is that you should be using this drug in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise. At Streamline, we offer a weight management programme which has been developed by our expert clinical team and allows you to still enjoy a full range of foods while losing weight and keeping it off.  

We have developed three core elements to our weight management programme to help you succeed with your weight loss goals: Clinically led, weight loss medication and prescribed exercise. Find more information on our Weight Management programme.

Source: Inews – Ozempic: Health warning over prescription weight-loss drug being sold second-hand on Facebook

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