Popular prescription drug Ozempic seized by Cincinnati US CBP

Many people know Ozempic for its prescribed use in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Over the last few years, the medication has grown in popularity for alternative means of weight loss with incredible results. Ozempic is Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati recently seized 11 shipments packed full of the pre-filled prescription medication.

Officers at the Port of Cincinnati were conducting inspections on freight out of Colombia when they discovered shipments containing pre-filled injection pens containing Ozempic. A total of 11 FDA-regulated Ozempic shipments have been seized so far this calendar year at the Port of Cincinnati, with the first shipment detected in February. Each shipment originated in Colombia and were destined to New York, Massachusetts, and Texas. Most of the shipments held over 100 pre-filled injection pens. Had all 11 shipments been legitimate with FDA approval, they would have had a combined value of $887,000.

Officers reached out to FDA to confirm the drug cannot be imported into the United States without going through the proper steps and presenting the required documentation. Unfortunately, very few online pharmacies are compliant with the U.S. pharmacy standards. This poses health risks to consumers who purchase what they believe is a genuine product at a much lower cost. The product they receive may be inferior. Risks posed by using medications from unfamiliar sources include unknown ingredients, unusual side effects, and lack of effectiveness of the product.

“Prescription drugs that are smuggled from outside the U.S., particularly injectable products that should be sterile, can present a serious health risk to those who use them. The drugs have not undergone the proper import processes and may contain unknown or dangerous ingredients,” said Dan Solis, FDA Assistant Commissioner for import operations. “We will continue to be vigilant at ports of entry to interdict these potentially dangerous products, preventing them from reaching U.S. customers and protecting the public health.”

“Collaborative work with FDA has proven to help combat the soaring sales in E-commerce of illegal medications from overseas entities that fail to abide by the rules set in place,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director Field Operations-Chicago. “One of CBP’s mission priorities is to facilitate lawful trade. Stopping illegal shipments of Ozempic saves consumers a substantial amount of money and potentially dangerous health risks.”