Fake Ozempic flooding the market

We’d all like to lose a few pounds, but at what cost? Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic – the prescription diabetes drug that makes it easy to lose weight – is now being counterfeited.

Cheaper consumer knock-offs aren’t typically dangerous, but this isn’t a fake Louis Vuitton purse. Novo says the counterfeit product appears to have contained another type of diabetes medication that works differently than Ozempic, and has reportedly led to an adverse reaction.

The layers of problems with the fake Ozempic are multiple. Novo says it is possible for medications purchased online or in person from foreign or unlicensed sources to be misbranded, adulterated, counterfeit, contaminated, improperly stored and transported, ineffective, and/or unsafe.

“At best, these fake prescription drugs are ineffective. At worst, unknown and unauthorized drugs can have extremely dangerous side effects,” Keyla Torres, founder and president of ReflexMD, a legal, safe and secure online telehealth service for semaglutide medication, the active ingredient in Ozempic, told ConsumerAffairs.

Novo’s warning takes that warning up a notch, saying “The safety or efficacy of counterfeit products cannot be assured and they should not be used. Potential risks of taking a counterfeit medicine include serious adverse events.”

What should Ozempic users look for to spot fakes?

If you take Ozempic and don’t want to run the risk of taking a dangerous counterfeit version, Novo details the differences between the genuine version and the fake:


  • Genuine Novo Nordisk Ozempic pens do not extend or increase in length when setting the dose.

  • The dose dial window only shows intended doses:

    • On the pen intended to deliver 0.25/0.5 mg doses, it only shows -0-, 0.25 and 0.5 once dialed up to the intended doses

    • On the pen intended to deliver 1 mg dose, it only shows -0- and 1 mg once dialed up to the intended dose

    • On the pen intended to deliver 2 mg dose, it only shows -0- and 2 mg once dialed up to the intended dose

  • Authentic Ozempic pens are currently available in the following configurations:

    • 0.25/0.5 mg pen

    • 1 mg pen

    • 2 mg pen

  • The box containing authentic Ozempic will include 4 needles which attach directly onto the pen, except the Ozempic 0.25/0.5 mg dose carton which has 6 needles.


  • A counterfeit pen may be identified based on scale extending out from the pen when setting the dose.

  • The label on a counterfeit pen could be of poor quality and may not adhere well to the pen.

  • A counterfeit carton may have spelling mistakes on the front of the box (i.e., 1 pen and 4 doses without space between ‘1’ and ‘pen’).

  • A counterfeit carton may not include the tamper resistant/perforation.

  • The batch number printed on a counterfeit box may not correspond to the product strength stated on the same box and pen.

What to do if you experience side effects from Ozempic

Consumers like reading warning labels on drugs about as much as they like reading privacy policies, but when a drug manufacturer – like Novo Nordisk does with Ozempic – says that Ozempic “may cause serious side effects, including Possible thyroid tumors, including cancer,” then you need to pay attention.

In a statement, the company suggests the following for anyone who experiences side effects from taking Ozempic:

If an individual is experiencing any side effects that may be related to the use of a counterfeit product, that person should immediately discontinue use and contact their health care provider, and is additionally encouraged to report the event to FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program (1-800-FDA-1088 or as well as to Novo Nordisk’s customer care number (1-800-727-6500).

You can help stop the counterfeiters in their tracks

Novo asks consumers who spot a counterfeit – or suspected counterfeit – product to call its customer care at 1-800-727-6500 Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm EST.

That includes any websites you find selling counterfeit Ozempic – or any drugs for that matter. Suspected counterfeit products may be reported to the FDA by calling the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) at 1-800-551-3989 or a local OCI field office.

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