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Novo Nordisk sues pharmacies over impure Wegovy, Ozempic dupes

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A 0.25 mg injection pen of Novo Nordisk’s weight loss drug Wegovy is shown in this photo in Oslo, Norway, on Aug. 31, 2023.

Victoria Klesty | Reuters

Novo Nordisk on Thursday said it sued two compounding pharmacies in Florida for allegedly selling impure and “potentially unsafe” drugs claiming to contain semaglutide, the active ingredient in the drugmaker’s blockbuster weight loss treatment Wegovy and diabetes medication Ozempic. 

The actions come as Novo Nordisk grapples with shortages of Wegovy and Ozempic in the U.S. as demand skyrockets for the drugs, which are known for their ability to cause significant weight loss. 

That’s left patients scrambling to find alternative – but sometimes dangerous and unproven – methods for shedding unwanted pounds.

Novo Nordisk is the sole patent holder of semaglutide and does not sell that ingredient to outside entities, which raises questions about what compounding pharmacies, clinics and other companies sell to patients. Compounding pharmacies prepare custom-made versions of commercially available treatments to meet the specific needs of a patient. 

The Danish drugmaker found that all the products tested from Wells Pharmacy Network and Brooksville Pharmaceuticals were impure, meaning that they contained unknown and unauthorized substances other than semaglutide, according to the two lawsuits filed in federal court in Florida. One product’s level of unknown impurities was 33%.

The unknown impurities in the products “potentially pose safety risks” to consumers, including “possibly serious and life-threatening reactions,” Novo Nordisk said in the suits.

The Danish drugmaker is not seeking monetary damages but is asking the court to bar the pharmacies from selling their products.

Wells Pharmacy Network and Brooksville Pharmaceuticals did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Novo Nordisk first sued Brooksville Pharmaceuticals over copycat versions of Wegovy and Ozempic in July. A federal judge in Florida dismissed the…

2023-11-30 16:57:00

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