Ozempic Scam: Online Scammers Trying to Profit from the Demand for Diabetes Drugs

When Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel delivered his opening monologue at the awards, he joked about the drug Ozempic, saying, “Everyone looks so great. As I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder ‘Is Ozempic appropriate? for me?’ ”
Ozempic is a diabetes drug, with a twist. It can also help people lose weight and after being promoted in Hollywood circles, it has become extremely popular.
Its weight-loss properties have led some doctors to prescribe the drug “off-label” to obese patients.
TikTok users promote it with a weight loss hashtag and videos attract millions of views.
The huge demand has contributed to a global shortage and Australia has not been immune.
A woman who used Ozempic for weight loss said she bought it abroad because it’s too hard to find in Australia.
“It works well – I’ve lost 12 kilos since October 2022,” she shared The food.
“I just got an Ozempic supply last Friday.”
Now online scammers are trying to capitalize.

Australia’s health products regulator, told the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The food the scams trick customers into entering personal or payment information online to purchase products that don’t exist.

It said this month it is investigating a number of websites claiming to sell semaglutide, trading as Ozempic, but added that some customers are not receiving the product or are instead believing it to be an alternative drug.

This channel was shared on UNSW Health and Medicine’s Facebook page to try and sell ozempic to users online. Source: Delivered

Advertising for Ozempic is banned in Australia and the TGA says people should only get the drug from pharmacies with a valid doctor’s prescription.

The TGA said unapproved products disguised as semaglutide are imported into Australia and intercepted by the Australian Border Force.

“These products are currently being tested in the TGA labs,” said a TGA spokesperson.

This woman promotes Ozempic on TikTok for health reasons

This online user shows her before and after shots as she encourages the use of Ozempic for weight loss. Source: Delivered

Ask good advice

Experts warn about the importance of seeking medical advice from trusted professionals.
Associate Professor Sof Adrikopoulos of Diabetes Australia told The food the drug works by affecting the brain to reduce appetite.

“If you’re ordering or trying to access supplies from other sources, you don’t know what you’re getting to begin with,” he said.

The anti-diabetic medication Ozempic box and the pen treatment

The diabetes drug Ozempic has gained popularity for its weight loss properties. Source: Getty / Joel Saget

Associate professor Adrikipoulos said the cost is also high, as the usual price of a subsidized prescription is $30, compared to hundreds of dollars charged online.

A man in a gray jacket and white shirt

Associate Professor Sof Andrikopoulos represents Diabetes Australia and warns consumers to buy medicines the right way Source: Delivered

“I would encourage people to see their endocrinologist, their diabetes educator to make sure the medication is right for them and then go to their pharmacy to access it,” he said.

Another NSW clinician, Dr Namson Lau, says his colleagues have received unsolicited emails and faxes offering to give patients a ‘generic semaglutide’, which they have ignored.

“However, we have ignored these messages as per the advice of the TGA. Such claims are illegal and fraudulent, and should be properly reported to them,” said Dr Lau.

This Facebook group is for online users looking for the ozempic treatment

Ozempic has been touted on Facebook groups as a weight loss treatment. Source: Delivered

Ozempic deficiency hits diabetes community

Yvonne Appleby has type 2 diabetes and said the deficiency was ‘pretty horrific’.

“Being gone for so long, it took me a long time to get used to taking it again,” she said.
The 58-year-old said she is not keen on ordering Ozempic online.

“It just shows how desperately people with type 2 diabetes need this drug if that’s the length they’ll go through to access it,” she said.

A woman with the oceans and rocks in the background

Yvonne Appleby takes Ozempic to treat her type 2 diabetes. Source: Delivered

To ensure that people with diabetes are given priority, the TGA encourages doctors not to prescribe Ozempic for weight loss until more supplies of the drug become available.

Social media is a beast

UNSW Business School Professor Nitika Garg studies consumer behavior. She said people struggling with weight loss are a vulnerable group targeted online.

Professor Nitika Garg of UNSW Business School

Consumer behavior expert Professor Nitika Garg examines how customers behave. Source: Delivered

“If you feel like there’s a magic pill that can help solve that problem and you see all these attractive influencers talking about it and celebrities presumably on it, it becomes easy to ignore the actual advice,” said Professor Garg .

“The scams are scams where people don’t get the drug at all, but other consumers who actually use the drug, how do they get their hands on it,” she asked.

“This whole TikTok phenomenon, the adoption of Ozempic on social media, along with the shortage, is just like the perfect storm,” Professor Garg said.
She said a proactive approach is needed to prevent further medical problems for consumers online.
“Social media is a beast — this will happen again with another product, so we need to get ahead of the curve,” she said.

The TGA says limited supply of Ozempic has resumed and is expected to return to normal in the coming weeks.

Ozempic Scam: Online Scammers Trying to Profit from the Demand for Diabetes Drugs

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