Personal Finance

Ads promise discount Ozempic and Wegovy: Here's what you'll really get

Before you order Ozempic, Wegovy or similar drugs online, the Better Business Bureau advises caution.

Ads promise discount Ozempic and Wegovy: Here's what you'll really get
David J. Phillip / AP
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So many people these days are interested in drugs like Wegovy, Ozempic and Mounjaro, hoping to lose weight. But they are expensive and can be hard to come by, which is now leading to a surge in knockoff products.

Dr. Jennifer Wittwer is a diabetes and weight loss physician at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati who says many of her patients are asking about the hottest new weight loss medications.

"There's a lot of patients who have had personal success, and they share with family and friends," she said.

But with many insurance companies not covering the cost of weight loss medications, Wittwer says, "Without coverage, it's about $1,300 a month."

That has people searching online for the medications, even ordering from Canada and Mexico.

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Better Business Bureau has a warning

Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau is warning about a troubling trend as consumers take risks to get their hands on these medications.

"You can't get this stuff without a prescription," she said.

This leads to people ordering knockoffs and counterfeit versions, where you don't know what you are getting.

"It's really important before you try to buy this stuff online, talk to your doctor," McGovern cautioned.

The FDA recently warned consumers to watch out for fake Ozempic, especially on social media ads.

"If you see a website saying we're selling it without a prescription, there's a really good chance that they're not," she said.

And if it comes with a low price, it's not the real thing, despite what the ads say.

"It just goes back to what we always say: 'If it's too good to be true, it probably is,'" McGovern said. "If it was a magic bullet, nobody would be overweight."

Wittwer says unregulated medicine is dangerous. If a product does actually arrive on your doorstep, you're running a risk to your health.

"There is no sort of regulation in regards to dosing safety, making sure you are putting in the actual product," she said.