In this photo illustration, boxes of diabetes medication Ozempic are located on a pharmacy counter on April 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
Novo Nordisk Five spas and wellness clinics were sued Tuesday for allegedly selling cheaper, unauthorized versions of the company’s weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy.
The Danish drugmaker has filed lawsuits in federal courts in New York, Texas, Florida and Tennessee, according to complaints obtained by CNBC.
The lawsuits accused the spas and clinics of marketing and selling “combined” drug products claiming to contain semaglutide, the active ingredient in both Ozempic and Wegovy. Combination drugs are specially made versions of a treatment that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Novo Nordisk is the sole patent holder of semaglutide and does not sell this ingredient to outside entities. It is unclear what spas and clinics are actually selling to consumers.
Novo Nordisk has asked the courts to issue orders to stop the sale of the unauthorized drugs and an unspecified amount of monetary damages.
“Illegal marketing and sales practices, including the use of Novo Nordisk’s trademarks in connection with these practices, have created high risks of consumer confusion and deception as well as potential safety concerns,” the company wrote in a press release Tuesday.
Spas and clinics named in the lawsuits include Pro Health Investments, Champion Health & Wellness Clinics, and Flawless Image Medical Aesthetics.
It also includes Effinger Health, which goes by the name Nuvida Rx Weight Loss, and Ekzotika Corp. , who works as Med Spa’s professional laser cosmetology spa. Recent Clinic Groupon is offering $30 off the “semaglutide weight management program” for one week.
The spas and clinics did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.
The suits come amid shortages of Wegovy and Ozempic, which has led to a boom in synthetic alternatives claiming to be the popular injections.
Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration warned about the safety risks of unauthorized versions of Ozempic and Wegovy after reports emerged of adverse health reactions to synthetic versions of the drugs.
Several states have also threatened legal action against combination pharmacies that manufacture or distribute unapproved Novo Nordisk weight loss treatments.