Contraband Available On Regular Web: Just in Time for the Holidays

November 28, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Losing weight is very difficult and people often turn to surgery or prescription drugs to help them drop pounds. Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus are popular weight loss drugs. They are brand names for a drug named semaglutide. There currently aren’t any generic versions of semaglutide so people are turning to the Internet for “alternate” options. The BBC shares how “Weight Loss Injection Hype Fuels Online Black Market.”

Unlicensed and unregulated vendors sell semaglutide online without prescriptions and its also available in beauty salons. Semaglutide is being sold in “diet kits” that contain needles and two vials. One contains a white powder and the other a liquid that must to be mixed together before injection. Jordan Parke runs a company called The Lip King that sells the kits for £200. Parke’s kits advise people to inject themselves with a higher dosage than health experts would advise.

The BBC bought and tested unlicensed kits, discovering that some contained semaglutide and others didn’t have any of the drug. The ones that did contain semaglutide didn’t contain the full advertised dosage. Buyers are putting themselves in harm’s way when they use the unlicensed injections:

“Prof Barbara McGowan, a consultant endocrinologist who co-authored a Novo Nordisk-funded study which trialled semaglutide to treat obesity, says licensed medications – like Ozempic and Wegovy – go through "very strict" quality controls before they are approved for use.

She warns that buyers using semaglutide sourced outside the legal supply chain "could be injecting anything".

‘We don’t know what the excipients are – that is the other ingredients, which come with the medication, which could be potentially toxic and harmful, [or] cause an anaphylactic reaction, allergies and I guess at worse, significant health problems and perhaps even death,’ she says.”

The semaglutide pens aren’t subjected to the same quality control and wraparound care guidelines as the licensed drugs. It’s easy to buy the fake semaglutide but at least the Dark Web has a checks and balances system to ensure buyers get the real deal.

Whitney Grace, November 28, 2023

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