Ozempic has done wonders in the realms of type 2 diabetes and weight loss. Likewise, its robust safety and efficacy profile for these two indications has garnered massive publicity over the past several years, with its use only rising in popularity. With more and more people looking to get a prescription, individuals are looking towards non-traditional ways to getting their hands on Ozempic.

One such way that patients are exploring is by buying their Ozempic from Mexico. Ozempic seems to be easily accessible in Mexico, but there’s a few catches to this method. Let’s explore the varying safety, logistical, and legal implications of getting Ozempic in Mexico and alternative options like buying Ozempic online from Canada.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic contains a substance known as semaglutide, which belongs to the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist class of medications. As a GLP-1, semaglutide helps to regulate blood sugar by increasing the amount of insulin in the body. It also can help to manage weight through its mechanism in slowing down gastric emptying. Gastric emptying is the process in which food contents move through your digestive tract. By delaying gastric emptying, you end up feeling more satiated for longer, helping you to lose weight.

Semaglutide was originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of diabetes under the brand name Ozempic. In 2021, the FDA granted approval for semaglutide under the brand name Wegovy for chronic weight management in those that are obese or overweight with one weight-associated issue.

Although the brand name Ozempic is approved for diabetes, it can be prescribed off-label by healthcare providers for weight loss. Thus, Ozempic is often used interchangeably for both conditions.

Issues with getting Ozempic in the US

Ozempic is approved and available in the US to treat type 2 diabetes and to manage weight. However, accessing Ozempic in the US isn’t always easy or affordable. You’ll need to first go in for a doctor’s visit, where your healthcare provider can prescribe you the medication if indicated. Next, you’ll need to stop at the pharmacy to pick up the medication. Unfortunately, this is where you’ll be faced with the high cost of Ozempic and potential drug shortages.

The cost of Ozempic

What many people don’t consider about Ozempic is that it usually isn’t covered by insurance. When taken for the purpose of type 2 diabetes, insurance companies will usually cover the cost of the med. However, when it comes to weight loss, insurance companies are a lot less likely to foot the bill. Likewise, you’ll need to pay out of pocket each and every month if you want to take Ozempic.

Many people are surprised to find out that Ozempic averages as much as $1,000 a month without insurance. Additionally, Ozempic is not a “one and done” type of drug. It needs to be taken consistently every week to manage weight. Stopping Ozempic has been associated with weight regain of as much as two-thirds of someone’s previous weight loss. Therefore, once you start Ozempic, you can expect to be on the medication for quite some time, if not indefinitely. With some simple math, that comes out to be around $12,000 a year.

The cost of the medicine is well out of budget for most Americans, representing a major health equity issue. Though we have the possibility to manage weight and combat the obesity epidemic at our fingertips, the option is out of reach for most.

Supply issues

The weight loss frenzy over these new and effective GLP-1s has been fueled by celebrities, influencers, and social media. Thus, more and more people are wanting to get Ozempic each and every day. Unfortunately, the drug manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, just can’t keep supply up with the ever-increasing demand. This has led to long-term shortages across the country.

This means that even if you do get an Ozempic prescription, the likelihood that you’ll be able to find a pharmacy with it in stock every month isn’t high. This can make it difficult to maintain adherence to the medication, ultimately affecting how efficacious it can be.

Not only that, but patients that are taking Ozempic for type 2 diabetes are suffering. Ozempic is used in type 2 diabetes to manage blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugars can wreak havoc on the body if left untreated. One missed dose can throw blood sugars out of whack, meaning continuous access to the medication is paramount. Unfortunately, many diabetics are having issues getting their hands on Ozempic.

Medical Tourism to Get Ozempic

Given the access issues in the US related to cost and drug shortages, people are looking towards medical tourism to obtain Ozempic. Medical tourism is a term referring to traveling abroad to get more cost-effective medications and procedures.

This practice isn’t new by any means, and the process isn’t unique to just Ozempic. People will often travel abroad to get prescription medications, plastic surgery, dental procedures, or cancer treatments all to avoid the rising healthcare costs in the United States. However, there are several risks with doing so, including the risk of infectious disease, antimicrobial resistance, low quality of care, and lack of continuity of care.

Although medical tourism has always existed, the practice has certainly increased in popularity since the Ozempic wave began. For those looking to utilize medical tourism to get Ozempic, many are considering Mexico as a way to get the drug for cheap. However, this option has several safety and legal implications.

Getting Ozempic from Mexico

It is possible to get Ozempic from Mexico; however, it isn’t as easy or safe as one may think. Let’s first review the logistics associated with buying Ozempic in Mexico and bringing it back into the United States.

When bringing anything back into the states, you’ll need to go through the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order for the medication from abroad to be permissible for import, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Be accompanied by a valid prescription from a physician or a physician note in English
  • Only be an amount that is required for the length of stay, which should usually not exceed a 90-day supply
  • Be contained within its original packaging with the doctor’s directions printed on the labeling

The next barrier to entry is going to be the safety of the medication. Any and all prescription medications in the US are strictly regulated by the FDA. This means that all aspects of the drug, including the safety, efficacy, and manufacturing, are rigorously reviewed during both development of the drug and while the drug is marketed. When you get Ozempic at a US pharmacy, you can rest assured knowing that it meets the quality standards set out by FDA.

The same does not go for Mexico. Medications are much less regulated in Mexico, so what you pay for is not necessarily what you are going to get with regards to:

  • Potency. In the US, when you inject 1 mg of semaglutide once weekly, your body is getting a 1 mg dose of semaglutide. While this may seem intuitive, the same can’t necessarily be said for Ozempic in Mexico. Because of the lack of regulations, a medication could contain more, less, or none of the drug it says it does. Thus, you could be potentially under-dosing or overdosing.
  • Purity. In the US, the FDA keeps a watchful eye on drug manufacturers and the quality of the medication that they produce. This doesn’t always happen in Mexico. In addition to potentially over- or under-dosing, you may be getting an entirely different medication or substance than what you bought. As a consumer, you have no way of knowing what is actually contained within that injectable pen.

Of course, the ultimate consequence of unknown potency or purity is the impact on safety. If you take a product with a higher dose than what is labeled, you are at risk for overdose. If you take medication that is impure, you are exposing yourself to potentially harmful substances, chemicals, or drugs. Thus, buying medication from Mexico is not always safe.

Buy OzempicBuying Ozempic from Canada

For some individuals seeking to purchase their medication abroad for cheaper, buying Ozempic online from Canada is another option. When doing so, patients will still require a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare professional. However, the benefit is that the medication is usually available for much cheaper than the average price in the states. It is important to note, however, that the legal implications associated with importing medications from abroad still exist.

Conclusion

Though Ozempic has yielded amazing results in the realm of weight loss and diabetes, its success is not always accessible to all. Drug shortages have swept the nation, making the medication difficult to obtain. Even if pharmacies have it in stock, insurance companies are not covering the medication for weight loss purposes. Thus, patients are needing to foot Ozempic’s hefty bill.

Medical tourism has gained popularity with the Ozempic wave, with many looking to Mexico to get the medication for cheap. However, this method comes with inherent risks associated with lack of potency, efficacy, safety, and purity. Thankfully, online Canadian pharmacies offer an alternative option for getting your Ozempic for less.