Undercover investigation reveals unlicensed weight loss injections being sold in Wales

Sellers in Wales were caught on camera admitting to selling unlicensed weight loss injections. 

In an exclusive investigation by Welsh language current affairs programme, Y Byd ar Bedwar, two women were found to be selling an unlicensed medicine, for weight loss purposes. 

The two women openly advertised that they sell ‘semaglutide’ for weight loss purposes, which is the active ingredient in the licensed injections, Ozempic and Wegovy. This is what causes someone to feel full. 

Only a healthcare professional can prescribe the licensed weight loss injections and this would be following a consultation with the patient.

A registered nurse calls a form with a Florida-based number at the bottom a ‘prescription’. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

But, in an appointment with the Y Byd ar Bedwar journalists, a registered nurse sold ‘semaglutide’ without asking any relevant medical questions. 

She can be seen handing the journalist a consent form to fill in, which states to call 911, the American number in the event of an emergency. The seller calls it a ‘prescription.’ 

According to weight loss expert, Dafydd Wilson-Evans, the findings are “shocking and dangerous.”

In response to viewing the undercover footage, he says: “That is not a prescription, but more than that, what she is selling hasn’t been regulated or licensed. There are failings on multiple levels there.”

Novo Nordisk is the only company approved to sell and market semaglutide, branded as Ozempic and Wegovy, in the UK. But the products bought during the investigation had no labelled packaging or branding.

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“We don’t know what is in the medicine they’re offering, or even if it is medicine at all,” said Dafydd, who works as part of a specialist team of weight loss experts in a private clinic. 

“The safety of the patient is at risk here. I’m speechless.” 

We asked both sellers for a response to our findings. The nurse told us “I prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all my clients and ensure that proper consent and information are provided”. The other seller didn’t respond.

Dafydd Wilson-Evans is an Obesity Specialist Dietitian at Verve Health Group, and calls the findings “shocking”. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Licensed weight loss injections are an “exciting development” 

The popularity of weight loss injections has surged in the last few years. 

Due to the popularity, there has been a shortage in stock of Ozempic, which is now only available on the NHS strictly for type 2 diabetes patients.

Since then, two more weight loss injections have been approved in the United Kingdom; Saxenda and Wegovy. Other brands are soon to be approved for use. 

Patients are eligible for the treatment providing they meet the criteria for referral to specialist weight management services and that they meet the guidelines set by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.)

They would need either a BMI of at least 35 or a BMI of 30 in exceptional circumstances. 

According to Dafydd Wilson-Evans, who is a dietician at Verve Health Group, the licensed injections are an “exciting development.” 

“We have to have treatment to help people lose weight. The fact that we now have more options to work with, that are effective, is a huge help.” 

Despite this, he does warn people to make sure they take the injections in a safe and responsible way.

“To have a specialist team that assesses and monitors this medicine is very very important.” 

“Any medicine that isn’t licensed or regulated poses a very serious risk to people’s health. You do not know what it is that you are putting into your body.” 

The full investigation can be seen on Y Byd ar Bedwar, S4C, 19 February at 08:00.

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