Health Canada says it has not received any reports of counterfeit Ozempic in the country after the World Health Organization issued a warning about fake batches of the popular diabetes drug detected in some countries.

The WHO warning on Thursday was about three falsified lots of Ozempic that were detected in the United States in December 2023, and the United Kingdom and Brazil in October 2023.

These fake injections, which were found in the regulated supply chain, misrepresent their identity and source as they were not manufactured by Ozempic maker Novo Nordisk, the global health body said.

Using counterfeit Ozempic may result in “ineffective treatment” and may also pose other serious health risks that could be “life-threatening,” the WHO said.

Tammy Jarbeau, a Health Canada spokesperson, told Global News in an emailed statement on Thursday that the agency was aware of cases of counterfeit Ozempic pens in other countries.

“Health Canada works in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency to detect and stop unauthorized health products from entering the country,” Jarbeau said.

“To date, the department has not received any reports or complaints of counterfeit Ozempic in Canada.”

In recent years, Canada, like other countries, has seen high demand for medications like Ozempic, which is primarily approved for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes but has been used off-label for weight loss.

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Wegovy, an on-label weight loss medication containing the same drug as Ozempic but at a higher formulation and made by the same manufacturer, also recently became available to Canadians.

In its warning Thursday, the WHO said it has been observing increased reports of falsified semaglutides – the pharmaceutical name for the drug in both Ozempic and Wegovy – in all geographic regions since 2022.

“WHO advises healthcare professionals, regulatory authorities and the public be aware of these falsified batches of medicines,” said Yukiko Nakatani, the WHO’s assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products.

“We call on stakeholders to stop any usage of suspicious medicines and report to relevant authorities."

To avoid any risks, Health Canada urged Canadians to get their medicines from a licensed pharmacy, only buy products that are authorized for sale and avoid buying products from unlicensed and unverified online sellers.

Video: What are ‘Ozempic babies’ and why are women reporting being pregnant while on weight-loss drugs?

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