The miracle weight loss injections which are meant to only be used under clinical conditions by a qualified medical professional have been found to be sold online without prescription.
The “skinny jabs,” which contain a prescription-only appetite suppressant known as Saxenda, are meant only for people with a BMI of over 30 or those with disorders such as diabetes.
There are thousands upon thousands of fake online pharmacies and unregistered clinics and they are selling them to people who are not underweight and do not have a prescription.
The injections have side effects which can include nausea and pancreatitis and have not yet been approved by the NHS in the UK but can be prescribed privately by a licensed healthcare provider.
A The Sunday Times reporter posing as a healthy customer who wanted to lose 2 stone in 2 months contacted the online seller, SkinnyJabsUK who agreed to sell £450 ($560) worth of injections for next day delivery,
When asked whether the customer needed to speak to a doctor or licensed prescriber, the owner of the company Mark Pickston, said: “No, no, I do everything. We get that sorted out.”
When later approached for comment, Mark, who has no known healthcare qualifications, said: “This is simply impossible as every client has a prescription. We can promise that we are always fully committed to the wellbeing of our clients.”
‘NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS’
Several companies have been found promoting the drug on Instagram and Facebook as a miracle weight-loss tool – despite it being illegal to advertise prescription drugs.
One online seller, Skinny Clinic, in Sheffield, promotes the injections on its Instagram feed, promising to get you “bikini body ready” and help you “drop a dress size in three weeks” using the injections.
One post read: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” but was deleted along with others after being alerted.
The clinic told a reporter posing as a customer that it had sold skinny jabs to people with a BMI as low as 22, a number usually considered healthy.
The clinic is not registered with the Care Quality Commission UK and, like many other companies, does not display the online medicine selling logo as required.
It claims, however, to issue prescriptions through a nurse “who has 27 years’ experience” in the NHS, which is something the Nursing and Midwifery Council is investigating.
A representative from Skinny Clinic told the reporter “The nurse is not doing anything illegal. She is a registered NHS nurse.”
Ashton Collins, director of Save Face, a register of accredited practitioners who offer non-surgical cosmetic treatments, said the organization received 157 reports of rogue traders selling the injections last year.
The figure had risen from 96 in 2018 and 54 in 2017.
Speaking of those who sell the jabs, she said: “They often buy them from China at incredibly cheap prices to circumvent the need for prescriptions.”
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now warned against the use of Saxenda for cosmetic reasons and has said it will investigate the websites in question.
The agency said: “We will review the websites for compliance with medicines regulations and take further action as necessary.”
The Advertising Standards Authority is also preparing to crack down on traders illegally promoting the injections.
Novo Nordisk, which makes Saxenda, said: “Novo Nordisk has no affiliation with any of these weight-loss programs, and we do not authorize the use of any of our medicines outside of their licensed indications.
“Private weight-loss clinics can purchase Saxenda from a UK wholesaler, who carries out the required checks to ensure the safe distribution of the medicine.
“Novo Nordisk has no influence over who purchases from this wholesaler.”