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Novo Nordisk, the Maker of Ozempic, Is Suing Spas and Clinics For Allegedly Selling Knockoffs Drugmaker Novo Nordisk has filed lawsuits in four different states across the U.S. on the grounds of false advertising, trademark infringement, and" unlawful sales" of products not approved by the FDA.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mario Tama | Getty Images
Novo Nordisk has sued five clinics and spas across the country.

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has filed lawsuits against five spas and clinics across four states, claiming that they are allegedly selling knockoff versions of the drugmaker's weight loss and type 2 diabetes drugs Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus.

The lawsuit alleges that the spas and clinics have unlawfully marketed and sold products that claim to contain semaglutide, the main ingredient in Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus.

"These unlawful marketing and sales practices, including the use of Novo Nordisk trademarks in connection with these practices, have created a high risk of consumer confusion and deception as well as potential safety concerns," the company wrote in a press release on Tuesday.

Traditionally used to treat type 2 diabetes, Ozempic has experienced a surge in popularity over the past year as it has been found to help some individuals lose weight. Prescriptions for the drug have more than doubled since the summer of 2021, according to data firm IQVIA, per the AP. The demand for the drug was so widespread that it triggered a temporary nationwide shortage in August 2022.

Novo Nordisk is also the only company in the U.S. that sells FDA-approved products containing semaglutide, and no generic versions of the ingredient are currently on the market or approved by the FDA — which begs the question of what is actually in the so-called Ozempic copycats.

Related: WeightWatchers Is Getting Into the Ozempic And Wegovy Weight Loss Drugs Game

With minimal supply on top of the high cost — which can be upwards of $1,300 a month — many would-be Ozempic customers have likely turned to independent spas and clinics to get "custom-made" versions of the drug that contain the active ingredient semaglutide, The Wall Street Journal reported, a manufacturing practice called "compounding."

Compounding is typically utilized when a patient cannot be treated with the commercial formula of a drug (due to an allergy, for example), so a custom formula is made as an alternative. However, these custom treatments are not approved by the FDA, and Novo Nordisk alleges that the spas and clinics in question have "unlawfully" sold compounded semaglutide products that are "counterfeit."

The company has called for a cease and desist of the five establishments (located in New York, Florida, Texas, and Tennessee) from selling the non-FDA approved drugs as well as required the spas and clinics to disclose that their products are by no means associated with Novo Nordisk.

The monetary amount in damages requested by the company has not been disclosed.

Related: A New Weight-Loss Drug Could Be a Complete Game Changer. 'Psychologically, You Don't Want to Eat.'

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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