TikTok and telehealth are driving a shortage of the weight-loss drug Ozempic, CNN reported March 17.
The medication, which stimulates the release of insulin and slows digestion, has exploded in popularity with social media influencers touting it and telehealth companies prescribing it en masse, leaving some people who use it to treat their diabetes unable to get it. WeightWatchers recently agreed to pay more than $100 million for Sequence, a company that prescribes Ozempic virtually.
“Anecdotally, it’s almost easier to get medication [via digital health companies],” Disha Narang, MD, an endocrinologist and director of obesity medicine at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest (Ill.) Hospital, told the news outlet. “But not always the safest.”
Some telehealth companies allow patients to get a prescription without speaking to a provider by phone or video, according to the story.