Ozempic compounding pharmacies

by | May 10, 2024 | Diabetes, Medicine, Weight loss

Navigating the risk of Ozempic compounding pharmacies: a critical update

At Chemist2U, we are making medication easy. Amongst other things, this means keeping you informed about any possible red flags in the medication and pharmacy world. 

The increasing popularity of drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro has led to significant supply shortages, pushing some consumers toward compounded alternatives. However, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and other health authorities are raising alarms about the safety and efficacy of these non-standard formulations. Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing concerns and regulatory responses surrounding Ozempic compounding pharmacies. 

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Safety alerts and regulatory action 

According to the TGA, Novo Nordisk is the only company with approved semaglutide products (Ozempic and Wegovy) in Australia. However, an emerging trend involves telehealth providers and some pharmacies offering compounded semaglutide-like products, which have not been evaluated for safety, quality, or efficacy by the TGA. The FDA has also issued warnings about the risks associated with these compounded products following a rise in adverse event reports. 

Compounding is typically reserved for cases where standard treatments are unsuitable or unavailable, not for bypassing supply shortages. The TGA emphasises that compounded medications are exempt from the rigorous evaluations that standard pharmaceuticals undergo, potentially exposing patients to unknown risks.

Emerging concerns from high-volume prescriptions  

The TGA plans to ban the compounding of injectable weight-loss drugs like Ozempic due to safety and effectiveness concerns. This decision follows revelations that some compounding pharmacies have been replicating these drugs on a scale that mimics commercial manufacturing, driven by high patient demand rather than individual clinical need.

Consumer and healthcare provider guidance 

Consumers are advised to exercise caution, especially when purchasing medications from unknown online sources. Compounded products may contain undisclosed ingredients and do not meet the strict standards applied to approved medications. Healthcare professionals are reminded of their legal responsibilities when prescribing and dispensing unapproved compounded products, which could expose them to liability if adverse outcomes occur. 

Advocacy and future directions  

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) acknowledges the necessity of the TGA’s proposed ban on Ozempic compounding pharmacies due to safety concerns but also recognises the challenge this poses for patients currently relying on compounded versions. CHF suggests that while compounding pharmacies play a vital role in healthcare, their use should be safe and strictly regulated, especially for mass distribution of medications like Ozempic. 

The TGA, along with stakeholders, is considering various responses to these issues, with a final decision expected by mid-2024. In the meantime, the CHF urges the Australian Government to continue working towards improving Ozempic supply and exploring other solutions to meet patient needs without compromising safety. 

A message from Chemist2U  

For those currently using or considering compounded medications, it’s crucial to consult healthcare professionals to ensure any treatment is safe and effective. As this situation evolves, staying informed through trusted medical advice and regulatory updates will be key to navigating the complexities of medications safely. 

Chemist2U has trusted Ozempic and Mounjaro available to order. Click here to upload your script. 

References

Consumer safety must be prioritised while managing access to Ozempic. (2024, March). Consumers Health Forum of Australia. https://chf.org.au/media-releases/consumer-safety-must-be-prioritised-while-managing-access-ozempic  

TGA. (2023, December 15). Compounding safety information: semaglutide-like products. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). https://www.tga.gov.au/news/safety-alerts/compounding-safety-information-semaglutide-products  

The hunt for the Australian “cowboy” pharmacist behind a replica Ozempic and Mounjaro scam – ABC News. (2024, March 31). ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-01/cowboy-pharmacist-behind-a-replica-ozempic-and-mounjaro-scam/103644794?utm_source=abc_news_app&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_campaign=abc_news_app&utm_content=link 

Worthington, E. (2024, February 29). Regulator acts to close loophole enabling Australian pharmacists to make copycat Ozempic drug – ABC News. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-29/compounding-pharmacies-mounjaro-ozempic/103283926 

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Medically reviewed by Dr Matt Cullen
MBBS, FRANZCP

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