A Warning about Counterfeit Mounjaro, Ozempic, and Other Diabetes Medications

An Important Message from Dr. E:

Counterfeit Medications Are a Global Problem

Since the beginning of time, disreputable individuals have tried to make a profit off of people who are desperate to fix an ailment or find a “cure” to their health condition. These unscrupulous individuals often target large populations of vulnerable people who are struggling with sensitive conditions like obesity, erectile dysfunction, and other ailments. They illegally manufacture and market counterfeit medications – everything from fake Viagra and Cialis to imitation Ozempic and Mounjaro, making false claims that they can replicate results from the original FDA-approved medications.

Imitation Drugs Can Be Unsafe

The recent shortages of medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro have caused an influx of imitation drugs internationally. When these fake products are studied by reputable scientists, they are often found to contain varied and questionable ingredients. Many only contain sugar alcohols (which means they essentially do nothing), but the more dangerous variants contain compounds related to the original medication with inaccurate dosing that can cause people to get extremely sick. Oftentimes these substandard medications are made in non-sterile laboratories, which can increase the risk of infection.

This problem is so serious globally that the FDA and World Health Organization (WHO) have both issued warnings about the safety risks of using these imitation products.

Medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro are only approved for adults 18 and over with type 2 diabetes, and they are not approved for cosmetic weight loss. (Wegovy and Zepbound, which are identical versions of Ozempic and Mounjaro, are FDA-approved for weight loss). All four of these medications need to be prescribed by licensed physicians, obtained legally, and used safely and appropriately.

Novo Nordisk is the only authorized supplier of the semaglutide medicines Ozempic and Wegovy. Lilly is the only lawful supplier of the FDA-approved tirzepatide medicines Mounjaro and Zepbound, and does not provide tirzepatide (the active ingredient in Mounjaro and Zepbound) to med-spas, wellness centers, online retailers, compounding pharmacies (compounding pharmacies sell custom-made medicines), or other manufacturers.

Compounded Medications Are Not FDA-Approved

Although compounding is permitted in limited circumstances for individual patient needs, people should understand that compounded drugs are never FDA-approved. The FDA has stated that  “compounded drugs pose a higher risk to patients than FDA-approved drugs,” and that the “unnecessary use of compounded drugs exposes patients to potentially serious health risks.”

Generic Versions of Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro and Zepbound Are Imitations

It should also be noted that neither Lilly nor Novo Nordisk sells generic versions of Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, or Zepbound, so any advertised generic version is an imitation. Also, if the drugs are listed as anything other than the official tirzepatide or semaglutide dosage, then the drugs are fake. Counterfeit boxes may also contain grammatical errors, a lack of tamper-resistant perforation, and the batch number on the box might not correspond to the product strength listed on the same box and pen.

How to Tell If Your Mounjaro, Zepbound, Ozempic or Wegovy Is Real or Fake:

Authentic Mounjaro

Authentic Mounjaro

 

Authentic Mounjaro

  1. Purple injection button
  2. Mounjaro® federally registered trademarks
  3. Tri-lobular-shaped base cap in a distinctive shade of gray (Trademarked)
  4. Script Lilly logo in black ink

 

 

 

 

Authentic Zepbound

Authentic Zepound

 

 

Authentic Zepbound

  1. Purple injection button
  2. Zepbound® federally registered trademarks
  3. Tri-lobular-shaped base cap in a distinctive shade of gray (Trademarked)
  4. Script Lilly logo in red ink

 

 

 

Authentic Ozempic

authentic ozempic carton and pensAuthentic Ozempic Pen and Carton:

  1. Genuine Novo Nordisk Ozempic® pens do not extend or increase in length when setting the dose.
  2. 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
  3. Authentic Ozempic® pens are currently available in the following configurations: 0.25/0.5 mg pen, 1 mg pen, 2 mg pen
  1. 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.

 

Counterfeit Ozempic

fake ozempic carton and pen

Counterfeit Ozempic Pen and Carton:

  1. A counterfeit pen may be identified based on scale extending out from the pen when setting the dose.
  2. The label on a counterfeit pen could be of poor quality and may not adhere well to the pen.
  3. A counterfeit carton may have spelling mistakes on the front of the box (i.e., 1pen and 4 doses without space between ‘1’ and ‘pen’) as seen in photo above.
  4. A counterfeit carton may not include the tamper resistant/perforation.
  5. The batch number printed on a counterfeit box may not correspond to the product strength stated on the same box and pen.

 

Authentic Wegovy

authentic wegovy no name

 

Authentic Wegovy:

  1. Genuine Novo Nordisk Wegovy® pens are fixed-dose auto-injectors and do not have a push button to administer the medicine.
  2. Genuine Novo Nordisk Wegovy® pens do not have an option to set a dose and do not extend or increase in length.
  3. Wegovy® is currently available in the following configurations: 0.25 mg pen, 0.5 mg pen, 1 mg pen, 1.7 mg pen, 2.4 mg pen

 

 

In Summary

Medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro that reputable pharmaceutical companies manufacture help a lot of people, but the companies who are trying to capitalize off of that really should be arrested and put in jail. There have been several incidences where patients have had serious complications from these products. We at TCOYD® strongly recommend that you only fill your prescriptions from licensed physicians, and not use medications from unfamiliar or unverified sources.

 

Additional Resources:

WHO Issues Warning on Falsified Medicines Used for Diabetes Treatment and Weight Loss

FDA: Medications Containing Semaglutide Marketed for Type 2 Diabetes or Weight Loss

An Open Letter From Eli Lilly and Company Regarding Certain Practices Related to Mounjaro and Zepbound

2 Comments
  1. Avatar

    You mentioned legitimate licensed physicians. But what about the pharmacies itself? Bringing in counterfeit medications. How do we know if our pharmacy has the real medicine or counterfeit?

    • I would think that any licensed pharmacist is not going to be selling counterfeit medication, which would be the end of their license and their livelihood.

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