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IndiaMART Removes Unauthorized Listings of Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy Following Talks

IndiaMART, a prominent Indian online marketplace, has taken steps to remove unauthorized listings of Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster weight-loss drug Wegovy, according to a source familiar with the matter. Talks between Novo Nordisk and IndiaMART executives in October aimed to establish a framework for regular communication regarding counterfeit listings to combat illegal sales.

Novo Nordisk, the sole patent holder of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy and diabetes drug Ozempic, is yet to receive approval for sale in India. IndiaMART has been cooperative in removing listings by counterfeiters who lack the trademark for Wegovy, with dozens already taken down.

The global demand for Novo’s weight-loss drugs has led to a surge in counterfeit versions worldwide. Novo Nordisk’s efforts to identify and address illegal online sales involve engaging with platforms, including IndiaMART, to prevent or respond to such offerings.

IndiaMART, while one of India’s top online marketplaces, faces challenges in controlling advertised and sold products. It was included in the U.S. government’s ‘Notorious Markets’ list for 2022 due to concerns about counterfeit goods on the platform.

Despite the removal of many listings featuring Wegovy and Ozempic, some remain on IndiaMART, highlighting the difficulties in regulating online sales. Novo Nordisk’s Managing Director in India, Vikrant Shrotriya, previously noted the challenges in tracing illegal sellers.

Novo Nordisk introduced Wegovy in the U.S. in 2021, and its launch in European markets has faced challenges in meeting soaring demand. The drug, known for its effectiveness in helping patients lose up to 15% of their body weight, is part of the GLP-1 receptor agonists class originally developed to control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Indian law allows the import and sale of drugs approved in foreign countries, subject to regulatory approvals. Novo Nordisk aims to officially launch Wegovy in India by 2026. However, some provisions permit the import of unapproved drugs for individual use, provided patients appeal with valid prescriptions and proof of identity.

India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization has not responded to Reuters’ requests for comment on these provisions. Legally imported Wegovy costs approximately 1200 euros, while listings on IndiaMART claim to sell the drug for significantly higher prices.

Wegovy and Ozempic have gained popularity in India’s elite social circles, with affluent individuals procuring the drugs through local suppliers or contacts from foreign cities. The high cost of these drugs places them in the gray market, with demand fueled by celebrity endorsements and a growing obesity crisis.


Joan David-Leonhard

Joan David Leonhard is a recent Pharm.D graduate with a strong passion for the pharmaceutical industry and a particular interest in pharmaceutical media and communication. Her brief internship experience includes roles in pharmacy where she built strong patient-pharmacist relationships and a pharmaceutical media internship where she actively contributed to drug information articles, blog posts, social media engagement, and various media projects.
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