A drug used to treat Type 2 Diabetes won’t be available until the end of March in Australia, after TikTok videos promoting its weight loss capability went viral.
It comes amid a nationwide shortage of many medicines, including those that treat pneumonia, epilepsy, and inflammatory diseases.
Ozempic is a medication used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. It recently went viral as a weight loss drug, causing unexpected demand for the product.
It’s been unavailable in Australia since November, with supply chains not expected to be restored until March.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the national medicine regulator, is working with social media platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, to limit promotion of the drug.
Ozempic is one of almost 400 medications currently in a supply shortage, according to the TGA. It anticipates 75 more drugs to be undersupplied soon.
The TGA said this is due to manufacturing issues and unexpected rises in demand.
In response to the shortages, the TGA is allowing pharmacists in some circumstances to distribute substitute antibiotics without the prescriber’s approval.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Mark Butler said TGA is working to find alternative medicines as a “priority”.
The spokesperson also said ensuring the resilience of supply chains was critical, and said the Government planned to increase the number of medical supplies made in Australia.