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Home Criminal News ‘Adulterated’ Ozempic sold on TikTok resulted in bacterial infection and arrest according to Feds

‘Adulterated’ Ozempic sold on TikTok resulted in bacterial infection and arrest according to Feds

Federal investigators are cracking down on the illegal sale of wildly popular weight loss drugs online and this week, a New York woman without a medical license accused of hawking “adulterated” and “misbranded” versions of in-demand products like Ozempic, Axcion and Mesotherapy on TikTok, has been arrested.

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Justice Department provided photos show defendant Isis Navarro Reyes on TikTok allegedly hawking "adulterated" popular weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Mesofrance, and Axcion.

Isis Navarro Reyes, the defendant, is seen on TikTok selling “adulterated” popular weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Mesofrance, and Axcion, based on photos provided by the Justice Department.

Federal investigators are taking strong action against the illegal sale of extremely popular diabetes and weight loss drugs on the internet and this week, a New York woman without a medical license who was accused of promoting “adulterated” and “misbranded” versions of highly sought-after products like Ozempic, Axcion, and Mesotherapy on TikTok has been taken into custody.

Isis Navarro Reyes, aged 36, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with six counts, including smuggling, conspiracy to introduce and deliver a misbranded drug for interstate commerce, and dispensing of a misbranded drug while held for sale, among others.

The prosecutors claim that Reyes organized the delivery of the “adulterated” drugs from Central and South America, including El Salvador and Mexico, and that her plan heavily relied on attracting victims from her social media followers.

Through her TikTok platform, Reyes advertised and sold the illegal injectable weight loss drugs online for about one year, allegedly sharing her personal experiences with them and giving instructions to her audience on how to inject the drugs.

As per an indictment filed in the Southern District of New York, Reyes would display her phone number in the videos and encourage potential buyers to transfer cash through Zelle.

In January, an undercover agent reached out to Reyes to buy Ozempic and agreed to send her $375, according to a statement from the Justice Department,

The woman from Shirley, New York, did not request a prescription. Within a few days, the undercover agent received the drugs in the mail and noticed that the labeling was only in Spanish, which violates FDA regulations.

Investigators also discovered that from November to June 2023, one of Reyes’ victims had injected themselves at least 28 times with another weight loss drug she allegedly sold to them. Similar to Ozempic, this victim bought the drug, Mesofrance.

Reyes instructed her alleged victim to inject themselves every three days, and by July 2023, the prosecutors claim the victim “began developing lesions.”

When the victim reached out to Reyes for assistance and sent photos, no help was provided. They eventually visited the doctor, who diagnosed them with “mycobacterium abscessus infection,” which can cause skin and soft tissue problems, bone and joint infections and is usually the result of contaminated medical equipment.

“Around November 2023, the New York Department of Health tested one of the vials of Mesofrance that Victim-1 purchased from REYES. The substance tested positive for mycobacterium abscessus, a species of rapidly growing, multidrug-resistant, nontuberculous mycobacteria,” according to prosecutors.

Reyes could face severe jail time, as smuggling alone carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Left: Justice Department-provided photo allegedly shows a TikTok video posted by Isis Navarro Reyes where she is instructing viewers how to use injectable weight loss drugs that she is accused of smuggling into the U.S./Right: A shipment of the drugs was allegedly sent by Reyes to an undercover police officer. DOJ photos.

Left: A photo provided by the Justice Department allegedly shows a TikTok video posted by Isis Navarro Reyes in which she is providing instructions on how to use injectable weight loss drugs, which she is accused of smuggling into the U.S. Right: An allegedly sent shipment of the drugs by Reyes to an undercover police officer. DOJ photos.

An attorney for the Long Island woman could not be reached right away for comment.

Investigators emphasized that so far, none of the Ozempic that Reyes sold to an undercover agent was deemed counterfeit, but rather, it was contaminated.

“Reyes’s alleged unlawful distribution of these drugs caused significant, life-threatening harm to some victims and put all of her victims in danger. Recently, public interest in semaglutide and weight loss drugs has surged, and criminals have attempted to exploit this interest for their own gain,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “With this, the first misbranding and adulteration charges brought regarding semaglutide, Reyes will be held accountable for her actions, and criminals should reconsider before attempting to sell weight loss drugs without the proper authorization. This case makes it clear that extreme caution and physician consultation should always be taken when purchasing medications, especially on social media.”

As Law&Crime recently reported, the trendy weight loss drugs have been the subject of increased controversy. Several lawsuits were filed last month accusing the makers of Ozempic and Wegovy of releasing a dangerous product that led people to need their gallbladders removed or has paralyzed their stomachs. The manufacturers have denied any challenges to the safety of their products.

Representatives for Ozempic, Axcion and Mesofrance did not immediately respond to request for comment Thursday.

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