Drug companies have long sought out new uses for prescription meds. Viagra, for example.
That drug was originally developed as a treatment for high blood pressure. Then researchers noticed it had a certain side effect that might appeal to some men. The rest is history.
Now we’re seeing drugs developed to help people with diabetes being touted by tech startups as a way to lose weight.
The Wall Street Journal reports that meds such as Wegovy, Ozempic and Moujaro, which were intended to help people with Type 2 diabetes control their weight, are now being marketed to people without diabetes as an alternative to dieting and exercise.
Which is to say, they’re being pitched for vanity purposes, not medical necessity.
This is troubling on a number of levels, not least that there’s insufficient regulatory oversight for such practices.
“Health professionals say marketing such drugs to people who are healthy is inappropriate and could lead to problems such as body dysmorphia or eating disorders,” the Journal reported.
“It can also contribute to shortages for the medications, which are in high demand as celebrities, tech moguls and others tout the drugs as a get-thin-quick solution.”
These are powerful drugs. If misused or abused, they can cause significant harm.
But weight-loss pills have a been a Holy Grail of the pharmaceutical industry for decades (along with cures for baldness and the situation that Viagra addresses).
This trend requires an immediate response from federal authorities, and regulations for use of such medications.
In the case of these diabetes drugs, some of the startups pushing the meds are failing to inform buyers about the nature of the pills and how they’re intended to be used, the Journal found.
“It’s as easy as just taking the medicine and shedding the weight,” one ad campaign says. “No dieting or exercise is needed for it to work.”
To call this reckless seems like gross understatement.
It’s wildly irresponsible — and very dangerous.