Wegovy and Ozempic Scams Increase 183% as Weight-Loss Drug Popularity Rises

(FeaturedHeadlines.com) Antidiabetic medication semaglutide—sold under the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic—has become a popular weight-loss drug in recent years. However, the increasing interest in the medication has driven up prices and resulted in scams targeting consumers seeking the drug.

Phishing scams against people looking for semaglutide increased by 183% in January to April 2024, compared to the prior three-month period, according to research by cybersecurity company McAfee. The scammers trick people into sharing sensitive personal and financial information through ads on websites like Craigslist and Facebook.

People frequently turn to potential online sources of semaglutide due to the drug’s high price. Although drug manufacturers can produce a one-month supply of Ozempic for less than $5, the medication costs nearly $1,000 a month on the market without insurance.

Scammers sometimes ask victims to pay for the drugs via cryptocurrency or non-standard payment apps, which should serve as a red flag for consumers, McAfee said. Moreover, consumers should be on the lookout for sites that are poorly designed, feature grammatical issues, or offer suspiciously low prices, McAfee said.

Law enforcement often struggles to help scam victims recover their money. Nevertheless, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that victims contact their bank or credit card company to attempt to recover funds.

The popularity and issues surrounding semaglutide has garnered the attention of lawmakers. The chief executive of Novo Nordisk, which led the development of semaglutide, agreed to testify to Congress about the company’s pricing decisions.

A report issued by US Senator Bernie Sanders noted that Novo Nordisk charges Americans significantly more for Ozempic and Wegovy than counterparts in Canada and Europe. Demand for such weight-loss drugs at current prices could increase prescription drug spending in the United States to approximately $1 trillion per year, bankrupting the country’s healthcare systems, the report found.

While lawmakers search for solutions to concerns about the pricing of semaglutide, consumers should be wary of scammers looking to take advantage of demand for the drug.

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