The Ozempic Crisis

By: Sarah Offenberg  |  February 20, 2024

By Sarah Offenberg, Staff Writer 

You have most likely heard of what seems to be the latest easy fix for weight loss: Ozempic. The media surrounding Ozempic has attributed weight loss transformations of celebrities like Mindy Kailing and Oprah Winfrey to the drug. While these are just rumors, it has sparked within the public, a raging need to get the drug. Once people got wind of celebrities and other public figures using this “secret weight loss drug,” it spread like wildfire – with people scouring everywhere for it, faking medical reasons and getting it through unreliable sources.

Ozempic is classified as a weekly injection drug set to help people with type 2 diabetes or other weight related issues and diseases. One of its major effects is that it can help those on it lose a substantial amount of weight. However, because of the spike in public interest, those who actually need the drug to function are being denied access to it, due to increasing prices and decreases in rations. 

An anonymous junior at NYU who has been impacted by this crisis shared her opinion, saying, “I’ve been on Ozempic for half a year and my dosage is 1 mg. However, the doctor is only able to get me a higher dose because the lower doses are considered “titrating doses” according to the insurance company. I haven’t even gotten the higher dose and the insurance company is being very stingy [by] denying my doctor’s claims.” 

Other than the mass chaos that has ensued surrounding the drug, because of its relative newness, we don’t have much of an idea about the long term effects and ramifications of using Ozempic, especially if taken by someone who doesn’t have diabetes or weight related health issues. There are already reports of the drug (which is typically meant to be taken life long) having possible negative effects on muscles, with more potential impacts “including, thyroid cancer, pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer, hypoglycemia risks, acute kidney injury occurrences, gallbladder events, gastrointestinal disturbances, and cardiovascular effects.” 

The craze for Ozempic, which could have originally been kept as an accessible drug for those who genuinely need it, has ultimately been turned into a crisis of availability and a source of extreme stress for those who need it. This crisis highlights the great risks that come with celebrities and public figures sensationalizing certain things that should not be sensationalized.