Advertisement
UK markets close in 6 hours 44 minutes
  • FTSE 100

    8,172.94
    -25.84 (-0.32%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    21,091.17
    -47.51 (-0.22%)
     
  • AIM

    781.44
    -1.80 (-0.23%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1880
    +0.0008 (+0.06%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2926
    -0.0007 (-0.06%)
     
  • Bitcoin GBP

    51,660.75
    -328.70 (-0.63%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,377.14
    -8.12 (-0.59%)
     
  • S&P 500

    5,564.41
    +59.41 (+1.08%)
     
  • DOW

    40,415.44
    +127.91 (+0.32%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    79.95
    +0.17 (+0.21%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    2,401.80
    +7.10 (+0.30%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    39,594.39
    -4.61 (-0.01%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    17,469.36
    -166.52 (-0.94%)
     
  • DAX

    18,515.73
    +108.66 (+0.59%)
     
  • CAC 40

    7,607.84
    -14.18 (-0.19%)
     

Black market for weight-loss drugs risks ‘tragedy’

Black market for weight-loss drugs risks 'tragedy'
Black market for weight-loss drugs risks 'tragedy'

A growing black market for weight-loss drugs risks ending in “tragedy”, pharmacists have warned, as fears mount over people buying medication through unofficial channels.

Dr Leyla Hannbeck, the chief executive of the Independent Pharmacies Association, said “people are doing everything they can to get their hands” on weight-loss jabs, such as Wegovy and Mounjaro.

It comes amid a broader shortage of weight-loss drugs, which Ms Hannbeck said is encouraging patients to bypass “established, approved routes”.

She said: “They need to understand that these are powerful medicinal treatments.

“They can have side effects, they must be consumed properly and they are by no means for everyone who wants to lose weight.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We cannot sit back and watch tragedies unfold.”

Dr Hannbeck said patients must contact a qualified healthcare professional before taking the drugs.

Her warning follows a recent jump in the sale of weight-loss drugs on the black market, with the medical watchdog claiming last year that it had seized a series of fake treatments that left people hospitalised.

At the time, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said buying prescription-only medicines online, rather than at a chemist, was “a direct danger to health”.

A Telegraph investigation last November found that people were using social media to sell what they claimed to be weight-loss drugs.

The MHRA said it was taking steps to identify people selling these medicines unlawfully.

Online pharmacies have come under fire for carrying out limited checks on customers before selling them weight-loss injections.

Experts have warned that some people, particularly young women and girls, are lying about their weight to get an online prescription for the drugs.

This includes staging photos to exaggerate their size in order to gain access to treatments.

Online pharmacies are only meant to prescribe the drugs if patients meet certain criteria, including being obese or overweight, and also suffer from weight-related health problems.

The treatments can then be bought for around £250 per injectable pen.

Senior medics have warned that A&E units are now seeing people who are not overweight but have taken weight-loss injections suffering from serious conditions, including inflammation of the pancreas gland and alterations in blood salt levels.

Sir Stephen Powis, the NHS medical director, said about the misuse of the drugs: “They are not intended as a quick fix for people trying to get ‘beach-body ready’.”

Novo Nordisk, which makes Wegovy, was contacted for comment.