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Novo Nordisk to protect US patients from unlawful sales of non-FDA approved ‘semaglutide medicines’

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Novo Nordisk is taking multiple actions to protect US patients from the unlawful marketing and sales of non-FDA approved counterfeit and compounded semaglutide products claiming to contain semaglutide, while reinforcing the responsible use of Novo Nordisk's FDA-approved medicines. Novo Nordisk's prescription-only, FDA-approved semaglutide medicines are Wegovy for chronic weight management and Ozempic and Rybelsus for type 2 diabetes.

Novo Nordisk has commenced the filing of legal actions in the US against certain medical spas, weight loss or wellness clinics, and compounding pharmacies to cease and desist from false advertising, trademark infringement and/or unlawful sales of non-FDA approved compounded products claiming to contain semaglutide.

These unlawful marketing and sales practices, including the use of Novo Nordisk trademarks in connection with these practices, have created a high risk of consumer confusion and deception as well as potential safety concerns.

Compounded products do not have the same safety, quality and effectiveness assurances as our FDA-approved drugs and may expose patients to health risks. Novo Nordisk cannot validate the safety or effectiveness of products claiming to contain semaglutide that are not one of our own branded products. Further, the practice of selling compounded semaglutide medicines under Novo Nordisk trade names is unlawful and will not be tolerated. Novo Nordisk is the only company in the US with FDA-approved products containing semaglutide, and no FDA-approved generic versions of semaglutide currently exist.

"Our priority is to ensure that patients have a safe and positive experience with our FDA-approved semaglutide medicines, and these actions are a direct reflection of that focus," said Doug Langa, executive vice president, North America operations and president of Novo Nordisk. "We believe it's important to provide additional tools and education to support the proper use of our approved semaglutide products and create broad public awareness regarding the difference between our FDA-approved medicines and other products being labeled as semaglutide."

The FDA recently also issued guidance on medications containing semaglutide that are marketed for Type 2 diabetes or weight loss, which provides the following:

"Compounded drugs are not FDA-approved, and the agency does not verify the safety or effectiveness of compounded drugs. FDA has received adverse event reports after patients used compounded semaglutide. Patients should not use a compounded drug if an approved drug is available to treat a patient. Patients and health care professionals should understand that the agency does not review compounded versions of these drugs for safety, effectiveness, or quality."

Novo Nordisk has launched to serve as a credible resource hub for US audiences, including patients, healthcare providers and retailers, to provide information about the responsible use of Novo Nordisk's FDA-approved semaglutide products, the differences between our FDA-approved products and other medicines being labelled as "semaglutide", as well as tools on how to spot a counterfeit injectable product.

Patients prescribed FDA-approved semaglutide injectable products, marketed under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy, should be vigilant in checking their medicine to ensure they are taking an authentic, Novo Nordisk produced version of the authorized drug and injection device. The company urges these patients to only purchase FDA-approved semaglutide medicines from entities authorised to sell these products by the FDA.

In addition to launching as a resource hub to the public, Novo Nordisk has disseminated information directly to healthcare providers and is working with other stakeholders to ensure patients are aware of the dangers of compounded or counterfeit products claiming to contain semaglutide.


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