Canadian politician calls out Americans for trying to take our Ozempic
A Canadian politician had some stern words for Americans buying drugs like Ozempic, who he says are “distorting the Canadian health care.”
Those words came from BC Health Minister Adrian Dix during a press conference on Wednesday morning announcing regulations that will prevent broad access to Ozempic in the province.
Ozempic helps the pancreas release the right amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are high for patients that have Type 2 diabetes. One of the side effects of Ozempic is weight loss, and it has gained popularity as a weight-loss medication.
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BC is bringing in limits on the sale of the drugs, imposing conditions on the sale of Ozempic by pharmacies. But America seemed to be a key concern during Wednesday’s press conference, as many Americans seem to be getting Ozempic from Canada.
Dix called it a “national issue.”
As of March 18, 2023, Drug Shortages Canada, the website for reporting drug shortages and discontinuations in Canada, indicates a national shortage of the one-milligram format of Ozempic.
The BC Ministry of Health states that according to data from PharmaNet, an “unusually high percentage of prescriptions for Ozempic were coming from one practitioner in Nova Scotia and that these prescriptions were being dispensed by two internet pharmacies in British Columbia to American residents.”
The ministry adds, “Increasingly, United States customers are turning to Canadian online pharmacies to purchase drugs at prices lower than at home.”
Ozempic comes in an injectable form, but there’s a tablet variant called Rybelsus. There’s also another drug used to treat obesity called Wegovy, which will be part of BC’s regulations.
As a British Columbian, Canadian citizen, or permanent resident, this means that you can buy Ozempic through a BC pharmacy in person or online, while others can only purchase the drug in person at a pharmacy.
The BC Ministry of Health states, “The regulation will help prevent online or mail-order sales of Ozempic to people who do not reside in Canada and who are not in BC to make the purchase.”
For now, the regulation includes Ozempic, Rybelsus and Wegovy, but the ministry states that other drugs can be added as needed.
Semaglutide is the name of the drug, which is sold under the brand name Ozempic.
“I have directed BC PharmaCare to continue to monitor and review the data regarding the number of dispenses of semaglutide drug prescriptions as a measure of the impact of this new regulation,” added Dix.