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Wegovy Maker Sues Wellness Clinics, Spas Over Counterfeit Weight-Loss Drugs

Wegovy Maker Sues Wellness Clinics, Spas Over Counterfeit Weight-Loss Drugs

Pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk has filed lawsuits in four states naming five clinics and spas for selling non-FDA-approved semaglutide products

Novo Nordisk, the maker of Wegovy and Ozempic, is taking aim at medical spas and wellness clinics in the U.S. for selling products claiming to contain semaglutide, a key ingredient in the company’s weight-loss and diabetes drugs.

The manufacturer announced a multi-action strategy that it says protects patients in the U.S. from the unlawful marketing and sale of non-FDA-approved “counterfeit and compounded” semaglutide products. 

The Danish multinational pharmaceutical company is the only company in the U.S. with FDA-approved products containing the ingredient, including Wegovy, Ozempic and Rybelsus, which are only available by prescription. 

Novo Nordisk filed lawsuits in federal courts in New York, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, naming five spas and clinics, according to CNBC. The company is requesting that the sales of the knockoff medications be halted and is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages. 

Novo Nordisk says establishments that sell counterfeit semaglutide products have created a “high risk of consumer confusion,” deception, and potential safety concerns.

weight-loss drugs
credit: Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

In a statement, the company points out that compounded products don’t have the same safety, quality and efficacy assurances as its FDA-approved drugs.

“Our priority is to ensure that patients have a safe and positive experience with our FDA-approved semaglutide medicines, and these actions are a direct reflection of that focus,” said Doug Langa, executive vice president, North America operations and president of Novo Nordisk. “We believe it’s important to provide additional tools and education to support the proper use of our approved semaglutide products and create broad public awareness regarding the difference between our FDA-approved medicines and other products being labeled as semaglutide.”

The FDA recently issued guidance regarding medications containing semaglutide, reminding consumers that compounded drugs are not FDA-approved and that it received adverse event reports after patients used compounded semaglutide. 

See Also

Incentives to fake?

The weight-loss drug industry is booming, sending traditional weight management services such as Jenny Craig packing. Even WeightWatchers, a household name for weight loss, has pivoted from in-person meetings to semaglutide. This past spring, the company acquired Sequence, a telehealth service provider, so its members can access weight-loss and diabetes drugs.

While the medications can help consumers lose weight, they are also padding the pockets of investors. 

According to a research note issued by Barclays, the weight-loss drug industry could be worth $100 billion by 2030 and possibly even $200 billion within the next decade.  

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