“This could be… the end,” FDA warns of counterfeit Ozempic as man says he nearly died from it

ATLANTA — Millions of people are taking Ozempic to lose weight and it’s in short supply. That is why the FDA is warning about counterfeit Ozempic.

The FDA said it has seized thousands of units of counterfeit Ozempic.

Australian officials said several people there had to be rushed to the hospital after taking fakes.

It is happening here in the U.S. too.

“The room started to spin, and I couldn’t, I was helplessly incapable of doing anything… shortly thereafter I was out, unconscious,” said Chicagoan Mike Benson.

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He suffered a seizure and fell into a diabetic coma after he took a shot from a pen.

It turned out the drugs were counterfeit, apparently filled with insulin and not the Ozempic his doctor had prescribed him.

“Their counterfeits look very, very good,” said Shabbir Safdar, executive director of the nonprofit the Partnership for Safe Medicines.

He said it’s easy to be fooled.

“I’ve looked at the fake boxes and the real boxes. And if I didn’t actually handle the pens of the boxes all day long, I couldn’t tell from looking at it that these are fake ones,” Safdar said.

[READ: FDA, doctors warn about compounded Ozempic. What we found at metro weight loss clinics]

The FDA and Ozempic manufacturer Novo Nordisk sent warnings out in December about counterfeits.

They alerted pharmacies to halt sales of any fake products with serial number 430834149057 and lot number NAR0074.

The FDA said the counterfeits also include fake needles leading to an increased risk of infection.

Safdar said the only way to know the drug is safe is to buy it from a reputable source.

“So, if you didn’t get it from a licensed brick and mortar pharmacy in your neighborhood, or you didn’t get it from their online website, I can tell you right away it’s suspect, especially for medicine in shortage,” Safdar said.


After spending time in the intensive care unit, Benson is warning others to be on the lookout for counterfeits.

“I don’t know that I ever felt that way in my life. I had thoughts that this could be, you know, the end,” Benson said.

Norvo Nordisk sent Channel 2 Action News a statement saying it is actively fighting counterfeit products and using litigation against entities selling counterfeit drugs.

The company said it is working closely with the FDA.


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