WHO warns about fake versions of weight loss drugs like Wegovy

The World Health Organization (WHO) and drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. warned consumers about fake versions of popular diabetes and weight loss drugs.

The WHO reported this Thursday that it has received several reports about counterfeits of semaglutide – the main component of Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and Ozempic – in all geographic regions of the world from 2022.

Lilly declared this Thursday that it was suing six more entities, including spas doctors and wellness centers, for selling products that claim to contain tirzepatide, the main ingredient in their popular diabetes medication, Mounjaro.

In an open letter, Lilly expressed its “deep concern” about the increase in online sales and social media posts about fake or compounded versions of tirzepatidethe main component of its medications Mounjaro and Zepbound.

The Indianapolis-based company said it was the only legal supplier of those drugs, and that it does not supply tirzepatide to compounding pharmacies, wellness centers or online sellers.

Lilly said that fake versions of its drugs that are frequently advertised or sold on the Internet they are never safe.

Novo Nordisk has issued similar warnings in the past about its medications.

The WHO stated that patients can protect themselves by using prescriptions from authorized doctors when purchasing medications. Likewise, the agency noted that patients should avoid buying medicines from unknown sources.

Lilly stated that products marketed as tirzepatide and not Mounjaro or Zepbound are not manufactured by the pharmaceutical company and are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Demand has exceeded supply of GLP-1 drugs, including Wegovy and Zepbound and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro. Some doses of Mounjaro and Zepbound are expected to be available in limited quantities through the second quarter, according to the FDA.

With information from and Reuters