Sites Popping Up to Sell Semaglutide for Low Prices Without a Prescription

Sites Popping Up to Sell Semaglutide for Low Prices Without a Prescription

Image by Mario Tama via Getty / Futurism

As the Ozempic craze continues, websites now admit to selling injectable knockoffs without a prescription – a seemingly risky and shady upgrade.

That Wall Street Journal reported that they found more than 50 sites selling what they called “pharmaceutical-grade” semaglutide and tirzepatide, the active ingredients in Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro.

Advertisements for and on this site, many of which are run by fitness entrepreneur types, often run promotions where customers can purchase what is being sold as semaglutide for around $100-200 per month. Given that a month’s supply of the prescription version costs over $1,350, and that insurance coverage has plummeted as the drugs gain popularity as a weight loss aid, it’s no wonder some people are interested.

These sites, which appear to operate outside the purview of the Food and Drug Administration — and also contravene social media community standards — often warn that their merchandise is “not for human consumption” and is only being sold “for research purposes.” But at the same time, WSJ point out, they often provide instructions for human dosing, giving the whole thing a wink vibe.

In an interview with WSJpeople who buy these counterfeit semaglutide products say they experience everything from general anxiety with the product’s unregulated nature to more severe side effects.

Amy Johnson, a bodybuilding hobbyist who has Type 1 diabetes, told the newspaper she was ineligible for a prescription for semaglutide injections because her body mass index (BMI) falls into the “overweight” category. She decided to buy the unregulated version online and things quickly turned into a sprain when she developed stomach paralysis and frequently experienced vomiting within weeks of taking it. Soon after, he stopped using what he bought online completely.

“I see no reason why it shouldn’t be sold on the black market,” Johnson said. “It’s strange to me that I can find something like semaglutide so easily on the open web.”

That WSJ noting that when contacting Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, about sites that appear to conflict with its standards, a spokesperson said that “company policy prohibits advertising of prescription drugs without proper authorization and approval.” Many of the first ads are WSJReporters saw it removed after they contacted Meta – only for others to appear in their place, some of which advertise the exact same site as the missing ad.

In a cursory Google search, Futurism also found that search engines returned sponsored results for the more unregulated semaglutide and tirzepatide, despite the company’s own guidelines against running pharmacy ads selling prescription drugs without a prescription.

“THIS ITEM DOES NOT COME PRE-MIXED,” warns one site advertised on Google. “It comes in the form of a lyophilized powder. WE DO NOT PROVIDE BACTERIOSTATIC OR INJECTED WATER ON ANY ORDERS! THERE ARE NO REFUNDS ON THIS ITEM.”

In response to questions about the ads, a Google spokesperson said the company had found they “violated our policies” and removed them.

“Advertisers who have not completed our certification program are not allowed to promote the sale of prescription drugs,” the spokesperson said. “This includes drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy, or Semaglutide.”

Even properly prescribed Ozempic and Wegovy have been linked to health risks and a tendency to make people enjoy food less. With imitations being sold online, the potential for problems is proliferating. Are they even what they claim to be? If so, are the measurements pure and accurate? Will the person buying it be able to safely and accurately measure and inject it? Will they be tempted to use unsafe doses?

Beyond the dangers of taking unregulated drugs are the social implications of such chemicals being so readily available.

Research shows that a surprising proportion of American women exhibit disordered eating behaviors, with many trying to lose weight regardless of whether they are overweight or not. With people already taking the drug for weight loss purposes when they weren’t overweight, it’s hard to believe that easy online access wouldn’t achieve the same.

In the end, the clever online proliferation of semaglutide and tirzepatide feels like the latest illustration of an old tension. Prohibition of drugs, however, rarely makes people safer. At the same time, regulations are there for a reason — and perhaps gatekeepers like the FDA, Facebook, and Google must not give up the lucrative new black market.

Updated with response from Google.

More about Ozempic: The Scientist Behind Ozempic Warns That There’s a “Price”

#Sites #Popping #Sell #Semaglutide #Prices #Prescription

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