The latest generation of diabetes medications (GLP-1-agonists, e.g. Ozempic) are currently being widely discussed in the media. Since alongside their actual application, their use can also result in weight loss, they are often in demand as a slimming product. This can lead to supply shortages in some cases and to these products being purchased online or from unreliable sources (including sources abroad).
Hospitalisations following use of falsified Ozempic pens – Swissmedic advises against purchasing medicinal products online and from unreliable sources abroad
Due to high demand, falsifications of these products are increasingly appearing internationally. In Switzerland, reports have been submitted to Swissmedic concerning individuals who have obtained Ozempic from unreliable sources and been hospitalised after using it.
Swissmedic has recently received reports of hospitalisations in Switzerland in connection with Ozempic falsifications obtained outside of the legal Swiss distribution chain. The individuals affected were admitted with acute hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). In one case, an insulin pen was identified in the package rather than an Ozempic pen. Hypoglycaemia triggered by an insulin overdose is acutely life-threatening and must be treated immediately.
Swissmedic emphasises that weight loss is not an officially authorised indication for Ozempic. This is what is known as an “off-label use”: It must take place under medical supervision and can therefore only be prescribed by a doctor.
Swissmedic urgently warns against purchasing and using unauthorised medicines offered in printed advertisements, promotional e-mails or via websites. These types of product can harbour a considerable health risk if they contain no active substance, an incorrect one or too high a dose. Laboratory tests have also found toxic or addictive substances, sometimes in high doses.
Officially licensed and controlled distribution channels are the only guarantee of safe, flawless-quality medicines. Swissmedic advises against buying medicinal products on the Internet unless you do so from a Swiss mail-order pharmacy operating under a cantonal permit.