Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Thursday, 2 November 2023 - 3:51pm

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is advising the public to be aware of counterfeit Ozempic®.

Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs. Gracia Wheatley-Smith said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory bodies around the world have issued warnings about counterfeit/falsified Ozempic® after cases of hospitalisation where patients reported seizure, hypoglycaemic shock and coma after use of the counterfeit product.

According to the Chief of Drugs the ingredient in the counterfeit pen is insulin and not the correct active pharmaceutical ingredient semaglutide.

Ozempic® is a prescription only medicine used to treat inadequately controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus, however it is also prescribed for its off label use for weight loss. This high demand of Ozempic® from diabetics and for weight loss patients has made a market for the counterfeit manufacturers as demand is now surpassing the production capacity of the manufacturer of Ozempic®

“The counterfeiters are not using the correct active ingredient and this has resulted in hospitalisation of persons seeking to use the pen for their medical condition,” the Chief of Drugs said.

The Ministry of Health is asking the individuals who have been prescribed this medicine and have not purchased it locally to refrain from purchasing it over the internet as Ozempic® is a prescription only medicine and the true product will not be available for purchase on the internet.

Mrs. Wheatley-Smith reiterated that counterfeit  or falsified medicines can be very hazardous to your health and life threatening due to the untested quality, potential contaminants and unknown active pharmaceutical ingredient. “Legal mail order pharmacies are only authorised to sell over-the-counter products and therefore will not sell the original Ozempic®”, she explained.

The Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services is encouraging everyone to purchase their medications from pharmacies and health facilities licenced by the Virgin Islands Government to conduct pharmaceutical service in the BVI.  Persons are also advised not to take medicines that are not prescribed for them in order to minimise experiencing side effects or adverse reactions of the medicine.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.


Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286