TGA raids pharmacy for alleged fake weight-loss product manufacturing

As we manage our health and well-being with the utmost diligence, the importance of having access to safe and authentic medications is paramount.

That's why the recent news of a chemist raided for allegedly producing counterfeit medication is particularly troubling.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) raided a pharmacy in South Yarra under suspicion of producing fake versions of the sought-after weight-loss medication, Ozempic.

In its statement, TGA said its agents executed a search warrant on the chemist on Thursday, 29 February, and seized documents and a ‘number of items which will be subject to further analysis and examination’.

TGA raided a pharmacy for allegedly producing fake Ozempic. Credit: Shutterstock

Some items included semaglutide, a key ingredient in Ozempic, peptides, and human growth hormones, which the TGA alleged were illegally manufactured.

‘The TGA held serious concerns around the safety and efficacy of the medication if it were to be dispensed to the public,’ TGA said.

Australia has specific regulations governing the practice of compounding—the process by which pharmacies produce small quantities of drugs.

With the shortage of Ozempic, some pharmacies have reportedly resorted to compounded versions of Ozempic to treat patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

While the practice is legal under controlled conditions, the allegations suggested that the South Yarra chemist may have crossed the line.

Professor Anthony Lawler, TGA head and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Aged Care, has cautioned consumers and chemists about the repercussions of unlawful compounding.

‘It is important that pharmacists understand that they are most likely breaking the law if they are manufacturing or supplying medicines prior to receiving a prescription, except in very limited circumstances,’ he said.

‘Individuals and businesses, including pharmacists and pharmacies, must understand and comply with their legal obligations under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 with respect to the import, manufacture, advertising, supply or export of therapeutic goods.’

‘Consumers need to understand that the safety of compounded medicines [is] not assessed by the TGA, and they are not subject to the same controls over the quality or efficacy of the goods when compared with medicines approved for supply in Australia.’

Penalties for pharmacies that break the rules include fines and legal actions.

Ozempic supply won’t be enough this year due to the high demand for the drug as a weight loss product.

Aside from Ozempic, the TGA also issued an urgent warning late last year that the country is grappling with a critical shortage of over 400 medications, with over 60 said to shortly go into shortage at the time and over 250 already discontinued.

Although the TGA suggested Ozempic only for type 2 diabetes, many healthcare providers in Australia and abroad prescribe it to people who want to lose weight through ‘off-label’ prescribing.

In Australia, it's common for doctors to prescribe treatments outside those approved by the TGA, especially for rare diseases or underrepresented patient groups.

Despite the Ozempic shortage for people with type 2 diabetes, TGA can't control on decisions of health professionals, so they can’t prevent the limited supply from being used for weight loss.
Key Takeaways

  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) executed a search warrant on a chemist suspected of making fake Ozempic.
  • A variety of medications, including semaglutide, peptides, and human growth hormones, were seized for further analysis.
  • Professor Anthony Lawler from the TGA warned of serious consequences for chemists violating the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.
  • Supply shortages for Ozempic, primarily prescribed for type 2 diabetes, are being exacerbated by its off-label use for weight loss.
What are your thoughts on this news? Let us know in the comments below!
They are driven by the supply from the correct labs. Who are not manufacturing at the need.I do believe that it's some clients who want to display their Bikinies bu on the other hand obesity is a big problem in Australia leading to serious health problems.Foe those who have type 2 diabetes the weekly injection is an answer. My husband and I both have type2 Lorry eats like a bird but doesn't loos weight he sees an Endocrine and metabolic clinic and these injections have been a big help.The only problem is a side effect of nausea and diarrhoea. He has lost a lot of weight which is a good thing B.P. down ect. But he is thinking of stopping them.. [email protected]
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IT's not a weight loss medication, it's for Diabetes and because of all those thoughtless uncaring people out there most diabetics can't get their medicine. Why would you say on this platform especially, that it's a weight loss medication.?
All prescriptions for this kind of medication should come with written prove of the disease. And doctors should be fine for prescribing to anyone that doesn’t have the said disease.
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Why cannot the Government make a stipulation that the drug can only be supplied to registered NDIS patients? We need the drug, fatso's should save money and do exercise.
I agree, the government should pass laws that state it is illegal to supply ozempic for weight loss, especially since there is a shortage for diabetes patients who really need it.
I have contact with 3 different dispensing pharmacies and in their defence I have to state that with all 3 the first thing they ask is is if I am diabetic. I used all 3 last year so am already on their books now so have no ongoing problems with supply to me. I have to admit I only used them all when I couldn't get supplies from my usual. At one time when Ozempic was just completely unavailable I was directed to an alternative in the form of Trulicity another once a week diabetes injectable drug, just a matter of asking my doc for another script AND the Ozempic one remained current also. Generally tough I am in complete agreement with the consensus of views stated here, especially the ones stressing the Ozempic is primarily a diabetes drug and a completely unproven medication for weight loss.

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