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Hidden $334,000 cost of weight loss drug

Aussies are being warned about fake websites claiming to sell weight loss drugs.

Standing on scale. Weight loss concept.
Aussies are being warned over Ozempic scams, following a shortage of the diabetes drug that is now being used for weight loss. (Source: Getty)

Scammers are targeting Aussies trying to buy Ozempic, the diabetes drug that surged in popularity because of its weight loss effects.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said it is aware of several scams targeting Aussies looking for the drug.

“The TGA is investigating a number of websites claiming to be selling products containing semaglutide, (trade name Ozempic), for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and off-label for weight loss,” the TGA said.

“In some cases consumers who pay for products online fail to receive any product, while in other cases the product received is not semaglutide.

“Even for those individuals who receive semaglutide, it may not be medically suitable for them.”

If you see any Ozempic products advertised online this is a “clear warning sign” that it could be a scam, the TGA said. In Australia, it is illegal to advertise prescription medicines like Ozempic.

The only legitimate manufacturer of semaglutide is Novo Nordisk, the TGA said.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch warned Aussies that these websites are “designed to take your money” and urged consumers to not click on any links or place orders on the website.

Last year, Aussies lost more than $334,000 to health and medical product scams. Aussies lost the most money over the internet ($144,000), followed by social networking ($64,000).

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a drug that is used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide is also sold under the name Wegovy.

The drug gained attention in recent years thanks to social media and celebrities, including Elon Musk, talking about using the drug for weight loss.

There is a worldwide shortage of the drug, due to the increased demand. In Australia, the TGA said it expected supplies to return to normal over the coming weeks.

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