NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A viral TikTok trend is being linked to a severe shortage of a popular diabetic drug.
Ozempic is an insulin regulator used to treat Type 2 diabetes by regulating sugar levels — but weight loss is listed as a side effect.
Celebrities like billionaire Elon Musk have publicly credited the drug for their weight loss.
The trend is now impacting pharmacies nationwide.
Berney’s Pharmacy started seeing a shorter supply of Ozempic around six months ago but it’s gotten worse. This past month the pharmacy’s supplier said it couldn’t get any and doesn’t know when it will.
“Ozempic came in the market, it proved to be a bit of a better drug than other insulins for the older generation with hyperglycemic agents, so this is a really good drug and there are many patients that are using it,” the pharmacy’s manager, Sunil Tickoo, said.
Berney’s Pharmacy patients who have used the popular drug for years are now being turned away, or are asking providers for an alternative prescription.
“Which is kind of uncomfortable for patients because this drug has been here for the past two three years and some patients are used to that,” Tickoo said.
Ozempic does require a prescription, but the viral trend with 352 million views has non-diabetic patients with obesity asking providers for one.
Tickoo said while both are serious medical conditions, diabetic patients could have dire affects without the proper medication.
“He can land in an emergency room,” Tickoo said. “That’s the worse-case scenario. There’s a lot of trauma is sugar goes too high. It’s extremely important for their Type 2 diabetes management.”
European Medicines Agency, which regulates the drug that is manufactured in Denmark, expects the shortage to last into 2023.